Iraqi troops have spent the better part of the summer and fall trying to surround the Anbar Province capital of Ramadi, envisioning this as the key to eventually launch a counter-attack against the important city, captured by ISIS back in May.
Six months later, and suffering massive casualties in the process, Iraqi troops have taken several of the areas around Ramadi. They don’t really have the city properly surrounded at this point, with a push against the Palestine Bridge a key part of trying to cut off supplies into the city, which the US says are increasingly riverborne.
Getting the city surrounded, however, doesn’t mean Iraqi troops will be able to effectively attack it, as ISIS has able to fight off Iraqi defenders in Ramadi back in May despite being significantly outnumbered, and has had six months now to shore up defenses in anticipation of this offensive.
Some 10,000 Iraqi troops, backed by militias and US warplanes, are deployed in the area around Ramadi, though in an attempt to surround the city on all sides they have stretched thin in places, and have made themselves an ambush target in some areas, particularly in the north.