The insurgents and al Qaeda in Iraq appears to have made a stand in Ubaydi as Coalition forces press the fight in Operation Steel Curtain. Coalition forces have engaged bands of terrorists while entering the city in what is described as “sporadic but heavy fighting.” Over fifty of the enemy has been killed. The most recent Multinational West press release indicates the half of the town is now under Coalition control; “Old Ubaydi has been cleared and now the Iraqi Army and Coalition forces are focusing on clearing the al Qaeda in Iraq stronghold of New Ubaydi”.
Contrary to some reports, Ubaydi lies south of the Euphrates River, not north. The New York Times describes Ubaydi as sitting ” in a heart-shaped bend in the river about 10 miles east of the Syrian border” which “is split between a new sector and an old The heaviest fighting occurred in the new sector, a planned development of well-finished houses.” The tight-packed nature of the housing complex makes for difficult urban fighting (see satellite map), however the only two Marine deaths reported so far were related to an IED attack and one Iraqi soldier has been wounded.
The town of Ubaydi is important for reasons other than being an al Qaeda redoubt. There are two bridges over the Euphrates River are located in or near the town. These bridges were destroyed during Operation River Gate with concrete bombs, which denied al Qaeda their use but allowed for relatively easy repair by U.S. forces. Once repaired, the Coalition will control the western most crossing points on the river, reestablish the crossing points for local use, and be able to conduct military operations north or south with greater ease. Coalition forces will establish basing in the town, and which will provide another outpost with easy access to the north of the Euphrates River, the other being further east in Rawah (which is actually located north of the river).
Security Watchtower has a map of the Western Euphrates River Valley, which should help locate the towns mentioned. Ubaydi and the surrounding towns require some adjustment but this map gives a great view of the towns and cities discussed in the Qaim region.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.