Iraqi officials are hyping the narrative that they’ve captured central Ramadi from ISIS and that the final expulsion of the group for the Anbar provincial capital is at hand. US officials, however, say they cannot confirm the claims of Iraqi gains in the city’s center.
Iraqi troops initially attacked Ramadi earlier this month, but their advance stalled at the center of the city, with ISIS setting up a series of traps to slow their advance. Iraq says today they took the provincial government compound.
Even Iraqi military officials sought to leave some wiggle room in this claim of a gain, however, saying they have “full control” of the compound but that this doesn’t necessarily mean any Iraqi troops have even attempted to enter the compound.
Iraqi officials have made clear they very much want to declare Ramadi fully “liberated” by the end of the year, and to that end officials may be trying to move the goalpost in a bit, allowing them to claim a full victory without having fully expelled ISIS.
This would somewhat mirror the “liberation” of Tikrit, which saw Iraqi troops and militias take the southern three quarters of the city and declare victory, even though an ISIS-dominated district remained in place for months afterward.