Warning: Some scenes are graphic
The Islamic State has released a new video showcasing recent battles in the Al Sufiyah area of eastern Ramadi. Approximately 30 Iraqi police have been killed and around 100 more have been injured in recent days in the western provincial capital.
The video (embedded above) documents fierce firefights taking place with Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The footage starts with a dawn raid followed by showing Islamic State fighters firing on Iraqi positions and clearing buildings. Several scenes show Iraqi aircraft flying overhead while jihadist insurgents utilize rocket-propelled grenades (RPG’s) and other small arms to kill several Iraqi troops. At least one suicide bomber driving a captured Humvee is shown in the video.
Two weeks ago, the Islamic State made significant advances in Al Sufiyah after attacking the area in a larger offensive. CNN reported then that the jihadist group was able to advance into the Al Sufiyah, Albu Soda, and Albu Ghanem areas of Ramadi after battling the ISF stationed in the area. Fighting also took place in the Sijiariyah area, which sits close to Al Sufiyah. At that time, the Anbar Provincial Council said that the ISF killed 23 Islamic State fighters and forced others to flee.
Just days before making gains in Al Sufiyah, the Islamic State launched a wide-scale offensive on Ramadi. The jihadist group assaulted numerous parts of the western provincial capital, including Albu Faraj, which is just north of the Euphrates River, according to Al Jazeera. The Islamic State used two suicide bombers, one Syrian and one Uzbek, to start the offensive. The jihadist group was also able to capture large swaths of Albu Faraj. (For more on this offensive, see LWJ report, Islamic State launches assault on Ramadi.)
Islamic State advances in Ramadi have prompted the rival Shiite Hezbollah Brigades and the Peace Brigades to deploy to the area. Faleh al Issawi, the deputy chairman of the Anbar Provincial Council, has said that two Shiite groups are working with Iraqi forces in the Sijariyah area. Hezbollah Brigades has begun to release videos of its fighters operating in the western city, which has been contested for the past year. The Shiite militia is a US-designated terrorist organization that is supported by Iran. (See LWJ report, Hezbollah Brigades deploys fighters to Ramadi.)
Since the offensive, Iraqi forces have been able to recapture a bridge and other areas in the center of Ramadi, according to RFE/RL. The ISF has also been reported to have recaptured Sufiyah; however, a recent Iraq media report has said that only around “75 percent” of Sufiyah has been cleared of Islamic State militants. An ISF operation to take the rest of the area is reportedly underway. The Islamic State has also recently released a video from the Albu Ayada area of Ramadi, showing fierce firefights between its forces and Iraqi personnel. While the jihadist group has lost ground in other areas of Iraq, it remains on the offensive in Anbar.
The Islamic State was recently able to capture the Thar Thar dam and a nearby military barracks just northeast of Fallujah. Over 120 Iraqi soldiers were said to have been killed, including Brigadier General Hassan Abbas Toufan, the commander of the Iraqi Army’s 1st Division. The general and 50 others were said to have been executed by the jihadist group after being captured. The Islamic State has also been able to overrun two other military bases in the area; it is unclear if the group holds the military bases after the assaults, or merely raids them. Video has emerged recently showing ISF personnel taking down the Islamic State’s flag and rising the Iraqi flag in the military barracks near the Thar Thar dam. (For more on these attacks, see LWJ reports, Islamic State captures dam, overruns base in western Iraq, Islamic State overruns Iraqi Army headquarters near Thar Thar, and Islamic State overruns Iraqi Army brigade headquarters north of Fallujah.)
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