Pro-government forces in Iraq launch operation to reclaim Ramadi from Islamic State

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

An aerial view of Ramadi and the Euphrates River.
Image: Cpl. Jeremy M. Giacomino, USMC.

Iraq has started a new military operation to push back Islamic State by reclaiming the city of Ramadi, according to an Iraqi paramilitary spokesperson yesterday. Ramadi, which is the capital of the province of Anbar, fell to Islamic State earlier this month.

The new offensive includes both government troops and paramilitary forces — Hashed al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilisation Brigades, which largely consists of Shiite militias.

The operation in the Anbar province seeks to cut off Islamic State supply routes to prepare the way for the recapture of Ramadi. There has so far been fighting reported to the south and west of Ramadi as pro-government forces make their advance.

The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq stated it is carrying out airstrikes near Ramadi to support the Iraqi advance. The U.S. is also supplying the Iraqi forces with military equipment, including anti-tank weaponry.

A meeting is scheduled for June 2 in Paris between representatives of countries fighting Islamic State. John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state, is amongst some 20 or more foreign ministers to attend; the meeting is to focus on strategy.