Coalition air forces pounded positions held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in Ramadi on Thursday, Iraqi military statements said, in support of government troops seeking to retake the western Iraqi city and push on to drive the militants from key population centers.
Warplanes from the US-led coalition carried out 27 strikes against insurgent position in the last district they hold in the centre of the Sunni Muslim city, which lies on the river Euphrates some 100 km west of Baghdad, according to a military statement on state TV.
The long-awaited drive to dislodge the militants from Ramadi, the loss of which in May dealt a blow to government efforts to root out ISIS, started early on Tuesday. Army commanders said on Wednesday the battle would take several days.
If captured, Ramadi will be the second major city after Tikrit to be retaken from ISIS in Iraq. Success would provide a major psychological boost to Iraqi security forces after the militant group seized a third of Iraq, a major OPEC oil producer and U.S ally, in a sweeping advance last year.
No ground advance was made on Thursday morning as the troops focused on clearing explosives, a local commander said, asking not be identified. The troops secured the vicinity of the district captured on Tuesday, Hay al-Dhubbat, TV said.
The control of major population centres in Iraq and Syria allows Islamic State to maintain a revenue base, controlling oil resources and large, fertile agricultural areas, and possibly plan attacks outside its core territory.
Col. Mohammed Ibrahim, a spokesman for the War Media Cell, said on Wednesday the distance to the Ramadi government complex, the target building in the city centre, is 1,700 meters (just over one mile), and the presence of civilians is slowing progress.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر