Daily Management Review

Advance of Iraqi Government Forces in Ramadi Slowed Down by Skirting Booby Traps


12/26/2015




Advance of Iraqi Government Forces in Ramadi Slowed Down by Skirting Booby Traps

Troubled with bombs and booby traps that resulted in a slow pace, Iraqi army spokesperson said that the government troops have pushed deeper into the heart of the last remaining district held by Islamic State in the city of Ramadi.
 
Since Islamic State swept across a third of Iraq in 2014, one of the most important victories achieved by Iraq's armed forces would be the recapturing of Ramadi that had fallen to the Isis militants in May this year.
 
Joint operations command spokesman Brigadier Yahya Rasool said that the government soldiers advanced overnight in the Hoz neighborhood that houses the provincial government compound, the target of an attack that started on Tuesday.
 
"The counter-terrorism forces are within 800 meters (0.5 mile) from the government complex advancing by about 1 km in the past day. Air strikes helped detonate explosive devices and booby-trapped houses, facilitating our advance,” Rasool said.
 
The plan was "to liberate all of Ramadi from three sides", said the special operation commander Sami al-Aridhi.
 
"Our troops are now advancing toward their targets but were delayed because the criminals have booby-trapped everything," he said.
  
Just two hours drive west of Baghdad, Ramadi is a provincial capital in the fertile Euphrates River valley. Rasool said that the city’s hospital has become the temporary home for the most remaining civilians in the IS-held central district knowing that the army will not target it.
 
A time frame for the final onslaught to dislodge the militants was however not given by him.
 
"The campaign's priority is to avoid casualties among civilians and the troops, no matter how long it takes," he said.
 
The offensive to retake the central district should take several days, military officials had said on Wednesday.
 
An international coalition led by the United States is aiding the Iraqi government forces by backing them up by air support. In order to avoid angering Sunni Muslim residents, the recent offensive have kept the Shi'ite militia units backed by Iran, which have played a major part in other government offensives, away from the battlefield in Ramadi.
 
Ramadi is the capital of Anbar province which is mainly populated by Sunni Muslims. Once it was secured, the Iraqi government would hand over the city to the local police and to a Sunni tribal force, the government said.
 
Ramadi, abandoned by government forces in May, was Islamic State's biggest prize of 2015. At that time it was considered to be a major setback for Baghdad and for the Iraqi troops that have been trained by the United States since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
  
The biggest population center under Islamic State control in Iraq and Syria, the northern city of Mosul, would be the next target after Ramadi as the army plans to move to retake it.
 
The state structure in Iraq of the Islamic state would be abolished and deprive them of a major source of funding if they are dislodged from Mosul which had a pre-war population close to 2 million. The funding from Mosul comes partly from oil and partly from fees and taxes on residents.
 
"The liberation of dear Mosul will be achieved with the cooperation and unity of all Iraqis after the victory in Ramadi," Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Friday.
 
(Source:www.reuters.com) 






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