When Iraq attacked the Anbar capital of Ramadi in December, they were desperate to announce a full victory by the end of the year, and they did, several times, despite ISIS still having a significant presence in several districts around the city.
Today, Iraqi officials say they have “full victory” in the city, having moved into the last ISIS-held district and “liberated” it. Officially, ISIS fighters are now on the outskirts of the Anbar capital, but ISIS has planted a lot of explosives around the city, and carried out bombing attacks repeatedly.
The biggest problem, though, is that even if ISIS is well and fully ousted from Ramadi, all Iraq really has control of is a bombed out husk of a city, with estimates suggesting that upwards of 80% of the city is badly damaged or destroyed, and clean-up likely to take years.
“Liberation” of the capital then doesn’t ultimately mean all that much, except that it pushed ISIS a bit further back from the vicinity of Baghdad, as the hundreds of thousands of former residents of Ramadi aren’t likely to be allowed to return for a very long time.
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