While a few hundred people have managed to get out of Fallujah and the surrounding area in the past week, by and large the city is on lockdown, ISIS inside trying to keep people from leaving, Iraqi troops outside limiting the “corridors” to flee through, and US warplanes pounding the city from above.
Over 50,000 people are stuck in that, and while Iraqi officials are offering their usual boundless optimism about a quick and clean victory, the locals can’t but look at neighboring Ramadi and see that they’re staring down the barrel of a long, calamitous battle.
Ramadi, nominally the capital city of Anbar Province and nominally still a city, was virtually destroyed in several months of offensive, and the “liberated” city that once housed 500,000 people is mostly still unoccupied, with residents limited in their ability to return to the rubble.
Fallujah faces the additional problem that, with the destruction of Ramadi, they’ve effectively been out of ISIS supply lines for months now, and food and basic medicine are in increasingly short supply, meaning a prolonged siege will quickly lead to mass starvation.
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