More than a month after it began, a military offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in Iraq’s western Anbar province is showing few signs of progress.
ISIL still controls much of the territory and hundreds of thousands of civilians have been displaced.
Amiriyat al-Fallujah is one of a few towns in Anbar province where the state has a presence. The roads beyond just one checkpoint lead to ISIL-controlled areas in northern, western and central Iraq. This is the only lifeline for those cut off from the rest of the world, and only a few make it out.
About 300,000 people fled when ISIL captured Ramadi, the provincial capital, in May. But as fighting intensifies between ISIL and government forces, the human flow is worsening.
Sheikh Faysal Hussein Jaber, the mayor of Amiriyat al-Fallujah, is busy helping those who reach the town but he also has to keep it safe: ISIL positions are less than a kilometre away.
Meanwhile, much of the rest of Anbar, including the main roads and the border with Syria, are in ISIL’s hands.
The group has been using suicide bombings, roadside bombs and booby traps, making it difficult for the Iraqi army to break its defences.
For now, the main concern at Amiriyat al-Fallujah is to protect the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, which is just a few kilometres away.
Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reports from the front-line town where many displaced Iraqis have taken refuge.