Iraq recaptures town of Husaiba al-Sharqiya near Ramadi

Iraqi forces backed by Sunni tribal fighters regain town of Husaiba al-Sharqiya near Ramadi from ISIS

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The town of Husaiba al-Sharqiya in near the city of Ramadi in Iraq’s Anbar province was taken back from ISIS on Sunday by Iraqi forces and Sunni tribal fighters deployed to the region last week.

Husaiba al-Sharqiya is about seven kilometers east of Ramadi, where ISIS militants routed Iraqi forces in their most significant advance in nearly a year. It remains on the northern side of Habbaniyah lake which is only 30 kilometers to Fallujah.

A Sunni tribal leader, sheikh Rafie al-Fahdawi, said that the small town of Husaiba fell overnight on Friday. 

After Iraqi forces retreated, ISIS militants seized the al-Walid crossing which is a key point on the border with Syria.

Last week, the US reluctantly approved the deployment of Hashd al-Shaabi fighters to take back Ramadi from ISIS, despite warnings from US lawmakers of an increase sectarian violence due to the involvement of the Iran-backed Shiite fighters.

Backed by Sunni tribal fighters, Iraqi forces recaptured Husaiba al-Sharqiya from advancing ISIS militants near the recently-fallen city of Ramadi on Sunday, while in Syria the government said the militants had killed hundreds of people since capturing the town of Palmyra.

Sunday’s recapture of the town came as part of a counteroffensive launched a week after the fall of Ramadi by Iraq's government, along with Iran-backed Shiite militiamen and locally-recruited Sunni tribal fighters.

“The city of Ramadi could be taken back from ISIS militants in days. It makes my heart bleed because we lost Ramadi, but I can assure you we can bring it back soon,” Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi said in an interview with the BBC on Monday.

"They have the will to fight but when they are faced with an onslaught by ISIS from nowhere... with armored trucks packed with explosives, the effect of them is like a small nuclear bomb - it gives a very very bad effect on our forces," he added.

Abadi said Iraq needs more international support as many ISIS fighters are slipping into Iraq from Syria.

"Not controlling Syria-Iraq border more closely was an error. Syria is in chaos which made ISIS become stronger. We've asked our international coalition partners to tighten control over the border," he said.

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter had accused the Iraqi army of fleeing from Ramadi although they outnumbered the ISIS fighters.

"The Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight," he told CNN's State of the Union programme. "They vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they withdrew from the site,” he added.

TRTWorld and agencies