Iraqi Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi today announced the “final assault” against the major Anbar Province city of Fallujah, with reports that some of the ground troops have managed to enter suburbs at the southern edge of the city itself.
Fallujah has been under ISIS control since January of 2014, and with officials estimating some 1,200 ISIS fighters within, they add that unlike in other areas, many of the ISIS fighters in Fallujah are actually locals who joined up with the movement.
This reflects both the long time ISIS has held the city, and that many of the overwhelmingly Sunni Arab population fear the Shi’ite-dominated government taking the city over far more than they fear ISIS retaining control.
As is expected of the local resistance, early reports are that there is heavy resistance from the ISIS fighters every time the military gets close to the city, and several attempts to launch counterattacks to keep the troops back.
Iraqi officials have repeatedly predicted a quick, decisive victory, but US officials have said they believe it will be a “long, tough” battle, and that even beyond local recruits, the Iraqi forces can expect the population to be generally hostile to them.
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