After claiming earlier this week to have captured 60% of the Anbar Province capital of Ramadi in a single day, and talking up a quick victory thereafter, Iraqi military forces continue to claim further “great gains” in the city, though the US said it was actually quite slow going.
Heavy fighting is still ongoing in the city’s center, with ISIS destroying the Euphrates River lock and multiple bridges leading to the center of the city, which they still control. Officials are bragging ISIS is “trapped” in the city’s center, but doesn’t seem to have a quick idea of how to recover the area.
Indeed, even as the military continues to talk up having the city fully “liberated” by Christmas at the latest, other Iraqi officials are privately conceding that US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s offer of attack helicopters to “finish off” ISIS in Ramadi was likely to be accepted.
Either way, ISIS had over six months to prepare traps and ambushes throughout the city before Iraqi forces had managed to surround it, and the battle over the city is likely to last far longer than anyone officially admits, as has been the case with previous fighting around Iraq.