Iraq forces lost ground to the Islamic State (IS) today in the latest fighting in al-Anbar Province, west of Baghdad, Iraq. Today they were forced to retreat from a military base, one of the few the Iraqi military has left in Anbar.
Provincial security force sources told CNN on Monday that Iraqi forces had abandoned a strategically important base in Anbar after heavy fighting with the militants.
The base outside Hit was one of the Shiite-led government’s few remaining military outposts in Anbar, a predominantly Sunni province. It is a key control point for roads running through the region.
The Iraqi military still controls the Ayn al-Asad military base, which helps defend Iraq’s second-largest dam and the provincial capital of Ramadi.
As usual, IS will now take whatever stuff the Iraqi Army left behind as they’ve been doing all along both in Iraq and Syria. See the below video from August for clarification. It’s from the Syrian arena of the conflict. Syrian troops fled and IS fighters showed up and got a bunch of free tanks. This is why you destroy your stuff when you have to abandon it.
Reports, also from CNN, as well as multiple other news outlets, indicate that IS’s advance had brought them within approximately 24 miles of Baghdad as of yesterday.
For reference, I commute twice that distance every day to and from work. Experts are concerned that IS will soon be within range to begin shelling Baghdad.
The plan as communicated by Barrack Obama has been that the U.S. led coalition will shoot at IS from the air while indigenous ground forces fight them on the ground. This is not working out well. It’s only in Iraqi Kurdistan that IS’s advance has been stopped. Elsewhere, both in Iraq and Syria, their advance continues although more slowly in Syrian Kurdistan.
In Syrian Kurdistan, it’s men, women, and children all fighting IS, many with only light arms (automatic weapons) while IS outclasses them in terms of firepower. Here are what some of those Syrian Kurds fighting IS look like. I had to share it because it contextualizes and humanizes the conflict so well. Yes, that’s a woman and a child defending their homes from extremists.
#Kurdistan: these are the men, women and even children who are defending #Kobanê against the #IS invasion force pic.twitter.com/YfoB40EaPy
— Thomas van Linge (@ThomasVLinge) October 8, 2014
#Kurdistan: the captain who sacrificed her live destroying a #IS tank thinking she wouldn't survive the battle anyway pic.twitter.com/1mI8bgMNcK
— Thomas van Linge (@ThomasVLinge) October 5, 2014