U.S.-led coalition target ISIS in Ramadi


[18-05-2015 01:47 PM]

Ammon News - AMMONNEWS - The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has conducted 19 air strikes in the vicinity of the Iraqi city of Ramadi over the past 72 hours, a spokesman for the coalition said on Monday.

“The Coalition increased its support in Ramadi today, in order to fulfill all requests of the Iraqi security forces,” said the spokesman.

The strikes targeted ISIS fighting positions, armored and technical vehicles, and buildings they control.

Meanwhile Shiite paramilitaries were preparing to deploy to the western province of Anbar in response to the ISIS advance.

A spokesman for the paramilitaries, known as Hashid Shaabi, told Reuters they had received orders to mobilize, but details could not be revealed for security reasons.

“Now that the Hashid has received the order to march forward, they will definitely take part,” said Ali al-Sarai, a member of the Hashid Shaabi’s media wing. “They were waiting for this order and now they have it.”

Ramadi is dominated by Sunni Muslims. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi signed off on the deployment of Shi'ite militias to attempt to seize back the area, a move he had previously resisted for fear of provoking a sectarian backlash.

About 500 people have been killed in the fighting for Ramadi in recent days and between 6,000 and 8,000 have fled, a spokesman for the provincial governor said.

The city’s fall marked a major setback for the forces ranged against ISIS: a U.S.-led coalition and the Iraqi security forces, which have been propped up by Iranian-backed Shiite militias

It was also a harsh return to reality for Washington, which at the weekend had mounted a successful special forces raid in Syria in which it said it killed an Islamic State leader in charge of the group’s black market oil and gas sales, and captured his wife.

While the Iraqi government and Shiite paramilitaries recaptured the city of Tikrit from Islamic State last month, the major northern city of Mosul remains under the control of the Islamists.

Islamic State said that in Ramadi it had seized tanks and killed “dozens of apostates,” its description for members of the Iraqi security forces.

Earlier, security sources said government forces evacuated a military base after it came under attack by the insurgents, who had already taken one of the last districts still holding out.

It was the biggest victory for Islamic State in Iraq since security forces and Shi'ite paramilitary groups began pushing the militants back last year, aided by air strikes from a U.S.-led coalition.

*Reuters




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