Day one of Operation Steel Curtain, which is aimed at dislodging al Qaeda from the border town of Husaybah and estabishing a permanent presence of Iraqi troops, has ended. CNN’s Arwa Damon is embedded with the Marines fighting in Husaybah., and reports the town was largely abandoned due to fighting between the pro-government Albu Mahla tribe and the pro-al Qaeda Karabilah tribe over the summer.
The street fighting has been reported to have been intense in the center and southwest corner of the city. Over thirty roadside bombs and booby trapped homes have been uncovered, along with two car bombs. “Dozens” of insurgent have been reported to have been killed. No Coalition deaths have been reported.
Iraqi Defense Minister Dulaimi stated “up to 180 terrorists escaped from Husaybah” and fled to Syria as Steel Curtain commenced. According to the Kuwait News Agency; “He added that Syria should stop the infiltration of foreign fighters from Syria into Iraq, noting that the Iraqi authorities have 400 detainees who said that they were trained in Syria before entering Iraq.” While this will be offered up as proof the insurgents are slipping the net, the real story is that the insurgents didn’t move to locations along the Euphrates River inside Iraq, and eyes are now seriously beginning to turn towards Syria.
The avenues to the cities along the Euphrates have been closed, or made vastly more difficult and dangerous to travel with Coalition troops now permanently stationed in Husaybah, Sadah, Qaim, Rawah, Haditha, Haqlaniyah, Barwana, Khan Al Baghdadi, Hit, Ramadi, Habbaniyah, and Fallujah. This is the Anbar Campaign.
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