In a major victory against ISIS, the Iraqi army claims it has recaptured Ramadi. The key Iraqi city was encircled by Iraqi troops for weeks, but they had yet to deliver the final knockout blow. That was taken care of Sunday, the army says. Its soldiers pushed in and recaptured the city’s central administration complex.
Earlier today, the army got rid of the ISIS flag on the building and replaced it with the official flag of Iraq.
Joint operations spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said in a statement on Iraqi television:
Yes, the city of Ramadi has been liberated.
If true — the U.S. has been unable to confirm the Iraqi claims — it would signify a major blow to ISIS, the terror group occupying large swathes of Iraq and Syria. British news channel Sky News rightfully says it deprives them “of their biggest prize of 2015.”
Back in the spring, the Iraqi army already retook the city of Tikrit, a city close to the hometown of Saddam Hussein, the dictator who was removed from power when the U.S. invaded in 2003. That city was lost by the Iraqi army in 2014, but recaptured in March and April 2015.
At this moment, ISIS has only one stronghold left in Iraq: Mosul, a city with — normally — 2.5 million inhabitants, making it one of the largest cities still under ISIS’ control. It’s likely that the Iraqi army will now set its eyes on that city.