Displaced civilians from Ramadi and around the area cross the Bzebiz bridge as they leave their hometowns towards Baghdad, outside Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's Anbar province, west of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Osama Sami)
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As Iraqi forces close in on the western city of Ramadi, thousands of civilians are effectively being held hostage inside by Daesh militants who want to use them as human shields. Iraqi forces cut the hard-line group's last supply line into Ramadi in November, surrounding the city and making it almost impossible for militants to send in reinforcements.But for thousands of residents who remain trapped inside the mainly Sunni city, life has become even harder as the militants grow increasingly paranoid, residents said.The description of harsh rule by Daesh fighters could also indicate disquiet among Sunni residents, some of whom switched sides to help U.S. forces defeat a precursor of Daesh in the city during the American occupation nearly a decade ago.Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, fell to Daesh in May, dealing the biggest blow in nearly a year to Iraqi forces who had been fighting back after losing most of northern Iraq to the militants last year."All families left inside Ramadi are those of the terrorists or those who support them".Several residents said that although they longed to be rid of Daesh, they feared they would be accused of supporting the militants if the city is recaptured.
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