Iraqi military officials announced on Sunday that they will announce that they have retaken the key city of Ramadi after they were overrun seven months ago. Iraqi forces launched an offensive to retake Ramadi, the largest city in Iraq’s western Anbar Province, earlier this month, advancing toward the city center and surrounding it with thousands of fighters. An Iraqi counterterrorism forces spokesman told NBC that they believe fewer than 100 ISIS fighters were believed to be in the city.
Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province in western Iraq, has been held by ISIL, since May when its forces overran the city as government troops fled in a humiliating retreat without a fight. That followed losses across Iraq, including ISIL overrunning Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, in the summer of 2014. Speaker of Parliament Salim al Jubouri hailed the “big victory” over the Islamic State and said “the liberation of Ramadi broke the spine” of the militants and would be “the beginning of the liberation of Mosul.”
After months of airstrikes, Iraqi troops, advised and equipped by forces from the U.S.-led coalition, have gradually retaken parts of the city, culminating in Sunday’s capture of buildings at the government center. ISIL had built up defenses in the city by laying minefields, booby-trapping buildings and attacking advancing Iraqis with car bombs and snipers. The Iraqi military said a large number of militants have moved to Fallujah through tunnels, and the rest are stuck in the eastern districts around Ramadi.
The capture of Syria’s Tishreen dam by U.S.-backed fighters helps isolate ISIL fighters holding the region near the Turkish border, known as the Mandij Pocket, from supplies in Raqqa, Warren said. U.S. cargo planes have dropped ammunition and weapons to the Syrians fighting ISIL. The capture of the Tishreen dam by U.S.-backed fighters helps isolate ISIL fighters holding the region near the Turkish border, known as the Mandij Pocket, from supplies in Raqqa, Warren said. U.S. cargo planes have dropped ammunition and weapons to the Syrians fighting ISIL. Government officials said there are no Shiite militias involved in fighting on the front lines to liberate Ramadi.
Iraqi security forces, including the military, counterterror units and federal police, are conducting all the storming operations underway inside Ramadi’s city limits, according to an adviser to Anbar’s governor.Ramadi also has symbolic significance. After Iraqi forces pulled out of the city in the spring, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter questioned whether the Iraqis had the “will to fight.”