Thousands flee fighting in Iraq’s Ramadi: UN

Thousands of civilians have fled escalating fighting between pro-government forces and jihadists in the Iraqi city of Ramadi over the past week, the United Nations said on Friday.

The UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) said 4,250 families had fled their homes in the Ramadi area since April 8.

That day, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that the security forces, fresh from a victory in the city of Tikrit, would next seek to retake Anbar province from jihadists.

The fighting so far has centred around the provincial capital Ramadi, 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Baghdad, and the Garma area farther east.

Government forces, which controlled only small pockets of the centre of Ramadi and some neighbouring areas, attacked but lost more ground in a fierce IS counteroffensive.