Ramadi was the scene of heavy fighting over the weekend, but the city has fallen to ISIS – Reuters Photo
Ramadi falls to ISIS:
Officially this morning, the Iraqi city of Ramadi has fallen under the control of ISIS. It is the biggest win for them since their capture of the city of Mosul in 2014. ‘Elite’ Iraqi forces abandoned their posts following a 3 day siege – and the US equipment provided to them- as ISIS crushed their attempt to retake the rest of the city.
The jihadists had raised their black flag over the government building earlier in the week.
Huge propaganda win
“Multiple security sources, none of whom agreed to be identified, speaking from both within the besieged Anbar Operations Center as well as with the units fleeing the city, described the fight for control of the capital of Iraq’s largest province as essentially over after reinforcements sent on Saturday to retake the city were crushed by Islamic State fighters.”
Hundreds of civilians and Iraqi troops were killed in the latest ISIS bid to take over the key Iraqi city. About 8,000 people fled the city in this latest attack. Sunni tribal leaders who had attempted to retake the city stated that the bodies of their fighters were “strewn in the streets.”
screenshot, Fox News
When the Iraqis abandoned their stations, it left around 500 policemen and soldiers trapped and surrounded inside the operations center. ISIS overran that operations center and efforts to raise the people inside went unanswered.
It is a huge propaganda win for the Islamic State: not only did they manage win over the elite “Golden Brigade” but they captured 30 armored vehicles, rifles, and heavy machine guns.
For the part of the U.S., airstrikes continued today, and American commanders stated they would continue to support the Iraqis in a push to retake the city. Anbar province was the scene of some of the Iraq War’s bloodiest battles- Ramadi and Fallujah. A pentagon spokesperson described Ramadi as a “fluid and contested battlefield.”
Iraqi Prime Minister ordered Iraqi forces not to abandon all their positions in Anbar Province, and also ordered Shiite militias to prepare to enter the heavily Sunni area. According to reports, there are Shi’ite militias already forming up not far from Ramadi, preparing to retake the city. U.S. officials are concerned that the move could spark even more bloodshed, as the hatred of Shi’ite Muslims runs deep in some places. But the victory by ISIS may just be enough to bridge that hatred at least temporarily.
“We welcome any group, including Shiite militias, to come and help us in liberating the city from the militants. What happened [Sunday] is a big loss caused by lack of good planning by the military.” al-Gauoud, the Sunni tribal leader, to AP.
When asked if this meant the US would take a more active role in the retaking of key Iraqi cites, one ‘senior US Military official’ stated that “They have to want it more than we want it.” The ISIS fighters that overran the city were a much smaller force than the Iraqis defending it.