Despite months of US-led airstrikes and Iraqi-led counter-offensives, ISIS continues to prove their resilience, in this case by potentially putting the entirety of Ramadi-the capital of Al Anbar Province and only 68 miles West of Baghdad-under their control:
ISIS fighters have Ramadi under pressure from several angles.
Essawi said ISIS militants made significant advances Wednesday in three areas east of Ramadi: Albu Soda, Albu Ghanem and parts of Soufia, which leads to central Ramadi.
Over the weekend, the militants seized control of areas north of Ramadi. Routes south of the city were taken some months ago.
That leaves only areas to the west of Ramadi in the hands of government forces, but those positions are under threat, Essawi warned.
The recent fighting has driven a steady stream of refugees out of the city. On Wednesday, some residents packed what they could into metal carts as they prepared to flee on foot.
People also were fleeing the areas where ISIS was advancing east of Ramadi.
While ISIS suffered a significant defeat in Tikrit earlier this year, their fast moving guerilla tactics continue to confound the hastily assembled Iraqi forces, and their infiltration of populated areas make them less susceptible to airstrikes. The actions in Ramadi are taking place simultaneous to other offensives in Anbar Province:
The Islamic State overran the headquarters of an Iraqi Army brigade stationed in the Thar Thar area northwest of Baghdad two days ago. The suicide assault marks the second time that the jihadist group has taken over an Iraqi military headquarters in the region in two months.
The attack on the 4th Regiment’s base took place one day after the Islamic State launched an assault on the Baiji oil refinery complex. While the offensive was eventually repelled by the Iraqi Security Forces, the Islamic State was able to breach the perimeter and enter the complex before being pushed back.
[CNN][Long War Journal]