Iraqi soldiers killed in operation to reclaim Ramadi from Islamic State

 

The Anbar Operations Command complex and Taamim neighborhood retaken by counter-terrorism forces are strategically significant because they overlook other parts of Ramadi which are still under the militants’ control. Iraqi troops also managed to confiscate a large amount of weaponry.

Ramadi, a provincial capital in the fertile Euphrates valley just a short drive west of Baghdad, was Islamic State’s biggest conquest since previous year, and reversing it would be a major victory for the Iraqi government and its spectrum of allies that include both the United States and Iran. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama has not yet signed off on the Apaches and they would only be used at the request of Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. He didn’t go into details, and other officials say the Pentagon has yet to fully develop what was little more than a concept when Carter announced it last week. “So in the end, while we can enable them, we cannot substitute for them”, Carter said. “In the near term, it would be a significant undertaking that, much as we may wish otherwise, realistically, we would embark upon largely by ourselves; and it would be ceding our comparative advantage of special forces, mobility, and firepower, instead fighting on the enemy’s terms”, Carter told lawmakers.

But leaving isn’t necessarily easy.

However, he admitted that it was hard for those residents still inside the city to leave.

“We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria”. “The insurgents have sectioned Ramadi into a group of smaller segments and do not permit the passage of civilians from one area to the other because they suspect anyone at the moment of being an informant for the security forces”, he said.

Another told CNN that most people were unable to leave due to the threat of being caught fleeing by ISIS. “The government is not proving us any guarantees that we will be safe during our trip south”.

Taken together, the comments by Dunford and Carter counter President Barack Obama’s claim that the extremists have been contained in Iraq and Syria after a $5.2 billion bombing campaign over the last 16 months. At that point, Iraqi forces had established positions in the city’s suburbs, he said. “We believe now is the time for the final push into Ramadi“.

Since overrunning Ramadi, Daesh has destroyed all the bridges around the city.

Last month, USA military personnel worked with Kurdish guerrilla commanders behind the front lines to retake the city of Sinjar in northwest Iraq.

So far, the US DoD has deployed 3,500 troops in six locations to support Iraqi security forces.

The spokesman said US airstrikes also killed Abu Maryam, an IS “enforcer and senior leader of their extortion network”, and Abu Rahman al-Tunisi, described as an IS executive officer who coordinated the transfer of information, people and weapons. Turkey is a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Col Warren said there had been an estimated 600 to 1,000 Isis fighters inside Ramadi, but officials are reluctant to predict how long it may take to reclaim the city. Mosul remains firmly in the hands of Islamic State militants.

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