ISIS militants deploy mock weaponry in Anbar to give an impression it is still holding ground in the province, according to an army official.

Major Nouman Abdul Zawbai, the 7th division commander in Anbar, was quoted by Alsumaria news on Tuesday as saying that ISIS are setting up “wooden tanks” and “bearded dummies” across the towns of Annah and Rawa, west of Anbar.

“Doing that, the group wants to make locals believe it still possesses equipment and fighters, but their trick was exposed by reconnaissance aircrafts from the international coalition flying above the two towns,” said Zawbai.

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A similar trick by ISIS was exposed in Nineveh after several areas were liberated at the province.

ISIS is reportedly confining thousands of civilians in Annah and Rawa as potential human shields while preparations are still underway for an offensive by government and tribal forces against the group there.