Iraqi troops on Friday entered Fallujah, located in the country’s Anbar province, and took over large parts of the city centre from Islamic State fighters, who appeared to show little resistance, Al Jazeera reported. Fallujah was the first major city the West Asian militant group besieged in 2014, before they took over Mosul, Iraq’s second largest metropolis. On Friday, the troops raised the Iraqi flag on top of the main government compound in Fallujah, and then moved on to the biggest hospital there.

According to the New York Times, the Islamic State fighters left their positions in the city fairly quickly and moved westwards. Thousands of citizens, who were allegedly being used by the group to guard against government forces, have been forced to flee the area, adding to the humanitarian crisis. Officials said the death toll in the city could be in the hundreds, but there was no confirmation on the exact figures.

Fighting has been on for weeks in Fallujah, and while experts said the battle for the city is likely to continue for several more days, Iraqi forces remained optimistic. The Iraqi troops have been bolstered by the coalition airstrikes led by the United States.