Iraq : Ramadi almost completely under control of IS militants, Baghdad ( dpa )
After months of fighting the terrorist militia Islamic State achieves a strategically and symbolically significant success ( IS ) in western Iraq. The Sunni extremists were able to bring the provincial capital Ramadi almost entirely under their control. IS militants have occupied a government complex and dominated around 90 percent Ramadi , it said security sources . The building of the Provincial Council and the local police headquarters were blown up and destroyed .
In the capital of the province Al-Anbar around 110 kilometers west of Baghdad , government forces fought for over months with IS militants. With the rise of the IS now dominates the greatest parts of the province. If the IS Ramadi bring completely under control, that would be a “major disaster” with massive consequences for the security of Iraq, said the chairman of the provincial council.
Ramadi was after the fall of long-time ruler Saddam Hussein in 2003, a stronghold of Sunni resistance to the US military. The beginning of 2014 brought the city of Fallujah east of Ramadi under control of IS. That was the starting point for the march of extremists in Iraq. There the terror militia controlled the north and west around one third of the country.
Iraq’s army and Shiite militias last month launched an offensive to push back the extremists from the province of Al-Anbar. However, despite support from the international coalition from the air they could not achieve a decisive success.
On Friday, it was said that the IS-rise was possible, after the army had suddenly withdrawn after fierce of fighting. In addition, the extremists had killed around 60 prisoners civilians, including women and children. The military leadership in Baghdad announced a counter-offensive, as the news site Shafaaq News reported. A representative of the Iraqi army said US military advisers were flown from a base east of Ramadi.
It is the second major success of the IS-terrorist militia within a few days. In neighboring Syria, the extremists had approached moved this week close to the historic oasis city of Palmyra.
Palmyra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins of the first centuries after Christ make the city one of the most important complexes of ancient buildings in the Middle East. The Unesco warned destruction of Palmyra had to be prevented. Unesco Irina Bokova boss explained that the “irreplaceable treasure” have suffered in recent years by assaults and looting.