Iraqi Army Retakes Key Base in Ramadi from Islamic State
The Baghdad government announced that Iraqi troops recaptured a government complex in the Sunni heartland from Islamic State militants and raised the national flag above the main government building in Ramadi. The site that remains home to thousands of civilians trapped in the midst of the battle was conquered by ISIS seven months ago and was retaken by Iraqi soldiers after a week of fierce fighting with the help from the United States that sent its jets to the pounded enemy positions.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called the recapturing of the city “the big victory” and added that Iraqi troops were coming to liberate Mosul, the second largest city in the north of the country that, he believed, would be “the fatal and final blow to Daesh.” The Islamic State seized Mosul in 2014. Al-Abadi also described 2016 as “the year of ending the presence of Daesh from the Iraq lands.”
American officials say that the U.S.-led coalition, including major Arab and European powers and backing Iraqi forces, have carried out nearly 630 airstrikes of the ISIS positions over the past six months. The coalition launched an air campaign against the militants in both Syria and Iraq in mid-2014, when as much as 40 percent of the Iraqi territory was conquered by ISIS. On Dec. 22, the satrt of Ramadi campaign was announced; its goal was to retake the city and make a final push to seize the central administration complex.
According to a military commander Maj. Gen. Ismail al-Mahlawi, currently, the government controls about 80 percent of the Ramadi area.