Iraqi officials continue to claim that Fallujah is “almost cleared” in an ongoing offensive against ISIS, but as has been the case for awhile, indications are that Iraqi troops are clustered around the city’s center, and recent US estimates that Iraq held about a third of the city don’t seem to have changed.
Iraqi forces pushed into the city through the southern gates, and made quickly for the center. ISIS forces are believed to be heavily concentrated around the north and west, though the exact number of ISIS forces remaining is subject to wildly different estimates of how many there were, and how many were killed.
The Iraqi military is predicting that ISIS forces remaining in the city will “fight to the death,” insisting that they are surrounded and have nowhere to go anyhow. Previously, Iraq had indicated they were open to letting ISIS flee rather than imperil civilians with urban fighting, but that seems to have changed.
Iraqi political officials have presented Fallujah as a first step leading toward a push against Mosul. Fallujah, however, is both much smaller and far closer to Baghdad, making supply lines for Iraq’s Army much shorter. US officials have openly doubted Iraqi troops could really make a play for Mosul any time soon.
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