Iraqi officials continue to claim “total victory” in the battle for ISIS-held Fallujah, but as with the claims in previous days, the fighting seems far from over, with reports suggesting they only control the southern half of the city, and that heavy fighting is ongoing in the north.
The only major territory to change hands over the weekend was the central hospital, which was sieged and captured by Iraqi troops. Beyond that, the focus has been on removing mines, a very slow endeavour, with Iraqi officials saying virtually every street has explosives rigged on it.
Throughout the battle for Fallujah, very few ISIS fighters have actually been killed, and many of the estimated 2,000 fighters are still unaccounted for. This suggests that further pushes into the north are going to stir up a hornet’s nest, with plenty of hornets left.
At the very least, tens of thousands of previously trapped civilians have managed to get out of the battle, though between the overt torture of the Shi’ites militias and summary detentions by the military, a lot are still not actually “safe,” and aid groups are warning of a humanitarian disaster, the result of the attacking forces making few provisions for the massive number of displaced.
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