Battle Over Anbar Town Rages as Iraqi Tribals Warn of ISIS Takeover

Key Town of Baghdadi Keeps Changing Hands

The strategically important Anbar Province town of al-Baghdadi is the gateway to the Ayn al-Assad air base, where 320 US ground troops are stationed. Iraqi troops retook the town from ISIS on Saturday, but didn’t hold it for long.

The latest reports are that early Sunday morning Iraqi troops fled the town and ISIS had retaken it. Fighting was reported on the outskirts of town throughout the day, but at this point it seems ISIS still has control over the town itself.

Tribal leaders in the area are increasingly pessimistic about the chances of the Iraqi Army retaking the region, even with US attack helicopters supporting them, with one warning what’s left of the province could fall in a matter of hours.

ISIS is estimated to hold about 80% of Anbar, and while Iraqi troops do contest them here and there, ISIS has a serious advantage in the region, and it seems only a matter of time before the US troops on the base are directly in their sights.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.