Iraq Blames Trapped Civilians for Stalled Anbar Offensive

ISIS Retains Control Over Central Hit

Weeks after the Iraqi military claimed to have recovered the city of Hit, forcing ISIS to “withdraw” from the region, they still don’t actually have control. As they launch yet another offensive into Hit, Iraqi officials are looking to downplay recent failures.

Iraqi spokesmen are now claiming “tens of thousands” of civilians are trapped in Hit, and that the civilians’ presence is preventing them from a more rapid offensive against the city’s center, which is still held by ISIS fighters.

Iraqi forces dropped leaflets around the city, ordering civilians out through designated evacuation roads. Fleeing the city has to be a tough choice for the Sunni population, however, as recent Iraqi offensives in Anbar have ended up destroying cities, or leading to Shi’ite militias looting homes and businesses.

Sunni refugees aren’t exactly welcomed in the territory of the Shi’ite government, either, meaning the refugees may have to flee deeper into ISIS territory just to survive, making themselves future targets in future offensives.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.