ISIS controls 80 per cent of the western province of Anbar, whilst the rest is under the control of the army and tribes, Iraq’s Minister of Electricity Qassim Al-Fahdawi said, warning of the fall of Ramadi “which will be their pathway to Baghdad”.
In remarks to the Anadolu news agency, Al-Fahdawi said: Tthe situation is very critical in the Anbar province, but security measures and support are not at the required level.”
He continued: “Anbar needs broader support than just the federal government, whether on a ground military level or by air.”
The Iraqi minister warned about the “army and police forces losing control of the city of Ramadi,” noting that “ISIS have been fighting for control of the city of Ramadi for months. This will be their pathway to the capital, Baghdad.”
Since the beginning of this year, Iraqi army forces have been involved in fierce battles against armed Sunni groups, led by ISIS, in most areas of the Sunni-majority Anbar province. These battles have increased following the armed groups’ control of the western districts of the county two months ago, in addition to their control of eastern regions, including Fallujah and Karma. Elements of ISIS have also taken control of parts of the city of Ramadi.
In June, turmoil reigned across areas of northern Iraq after ISIS, with Sunni insurgents who allied with them, took control of large parts of the Nineveh province in the north, after the withdrawal of the Iraqi army, at times without resistance, leaving behind large quantities of weapons and equipment.
An international coalition, led by the US, with the participation of European and Arab countries, have been directing strikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq in the context of the war against the organisation and halting its expansion in the two countries.