Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Iraq Launches Major Offensive on Islamic State Stronghold

At the Guardian UK, «Iraq launches new offensive to drive Isis from Anbar province«:

Iraq declared the launch of a new military operation on Monday aimed at liberating the predominantly Sunni Anbar province, the country's largest, from Islamic State control.

The campaign will include fighters from the Hashd al-Shaabi, a volunteer army dominated by Shia militias, Iraqi military units and Sunni tribesmen opposed to Isis. They are likely to strike first at the city of Falluja, which is under siege by pro-government forces.

The operation comes nearly two months after Isis seized Ramadi, the province's capital, in one of the terror group's greatest victories since its conquest of Nineveh and much of northern Iraq in a lightning advance last year.

The latest battle for Anbar will test the militants' resilience and the effectiveness of the Hashd, which defeated Isis in a long and drawn-out battle for Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit earlier this year.

"Today at dawn the operations to liberate Anbar were launched," a spokesman for Iraq's join operations command said in a statement on state television. "The Hashd al-Shaabi, the armed forces, the special forces, the national police and the sons of the Anbar tribes are now carrying out the liberation battles and advancing on their goals."

"We promise to exact revenge from the criminals of Daesh [Isis] in the field of battle," Iraq's prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, said in a statement. "Their cowardly crimes against unarmed civilians will only increase our resolve in pursuing them and evicting them from the last inch of Iraq's territory."

Ten thousand fighters are expected to take part in the battle, which will begin with an assault on Falluja, which has been besieged for weeks by pro-government forces seeking to oust the militants…


American Power

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