Ramadi Falls, More U.S. Weapons Seized: See the Gains ISIS Made in Just Two Days
Via Islamic World News, this was Ramadi on Friday. The red represents Iraqi forces, the dark gray ISIS, and the magenta areas, including bridges, were contested.
On Thursday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey was asked about Ramadi's imminent fall. "The city itself is -- it's not symbolic in any way. It's not been declared, you know, part of the caliphate, on the one hand, or central to the future of Iraq. But we want to get it back. I mean, the issue here is not -- is not brick and mortar. It's about defeating ISIL. So, as I said, this -- I -- you know, I would much rather that Ramadi not fall, but it won't be the end of the campaign should it fall. We got to get it back. And that's tragic for the people, as have -- as we've seen along the way," Dempsey told reporters at the Pentagon.
In a Friday teleconference, Brig. Gen. Thomas D. Weidley (USMC), chief of staff for Operation Inherent Resolve, said the coalition has conducted 420 airstrikes total in the Fallujah-Ramadi area, including 165 in support of Iraqi Security Forces in Ramadi just over the past month, "which have destroyed operational resources and facilities such as Daesh-controlled buildings, fighting positions, armored and technical vehicles."
"After a period of relative stability in the tactical situation, Daesh executed a complex attack on Iraqi Security Forces today. These forces were able to repel most of these attacks, but some gains were made by Daesh in previously contested areas," Weidley said. "At this point, areas of Ramadi remain contested as Daesh terrorists attempt to consolidate and defend some of their recent temporary gains in the east and south of the city. Iraqi Security Forces, as well as federal and local police, continue to control most of the key facilities, infrastructure and lines of communication in the area. Ramadi is a major population center, the provincial capital of Iraq's largest province, and a location where Iraqi Security Forces, police and local tribes have been working together for nearly a year to defend."
Today, two days after the commander's statements, Ramadi, 80 miles west of Baghdad, fell.
Here's the updated map via Islamic World News:
The red area bearing the Iraqi flag, home of the 8th Army Brigade, was stormed by ISIS fighters today. Within the compound they reportedly captured more U.S. military equipment, including missile launchers and tanks.
As one ISIS supporter tweeted, they found enough arms inside the base to "take 3 more Mosuls and about 10 Ramadis." ISIS members also tweeted rough video of celebrations in Mosul.
On Friday, Weidley also dismissed ISIS gains as "episodic temporary successes" and maintained "Daesh does remain on the defensive."
"These typically don't materialize into long-term gains. We've seen similar attacks in Ramadi over the last several months of which the ISF has been able to repel. And we see this one being similar to those, where the ISF will eventually take back the terrain that's been lost at this point," he said.
A tribal leader who had fled to Baghdad told the New York Times today that “men, women, kids and fighters’ bodies are scattered on the ground" in Ramadi, and “all security forces and tribal leaders have either retreated or been killed in battle. It is a big loss.”