Iraqi forces regain areas from ISIS around Ramadi

Iraqi forces intensify operations and recapture many areas from ISIS in Anbar province

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Members of the Iraqi security forces gesture as they ride atop a military vehicle during a security deployment as part of an operation against ISIS in Ramadi, October 6, 2015.

Iraqi forces have intensified their operations with the help of US air strikes and recaptured several areas that have been under ISIS control since May, officials said on Wednesday.

An operation with at least 2,000 troops has retaken the north and west of Ramadi, the Anbar provincial capital.

Zankura, Albu Jalib, al Adnaniyah and parts of Albu Risha and an area called Kilometer 5 were taken from ISIS, a brigadier general in Anbar said.

A member of the provincial council Adhal Fahdawi told Agence France Presse that Iraqi forces are positioning with the aim of freeing Ramadi.

"The Iraqi security forces also took control of the main road west of Ramadi and they are now using it to support the forces positioned to liberate Ramadi," he said.

According to the US-led coalition 27 strikes have been conducted in the Ramadi area since October against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

"The coalition's air support has played a big part in this progress," Fahdawi said. "If operations continue at this pace, I expect the liberation of Ramadi to be possible by the end of the month."

Ahmed al Asadi, spokesman for Hashd al Shaabi - a Shiite paramilitary organisation with allegedly 100,000 fighters - predicted Ramadi would be recaptured "in the next few days."

The Baghdad-based spokesman for the coalition Colonel Steve Warren said last week that operations around Ramadi had been on “pause” for some time.

"We are all urging them to begin with the utmost haste to finish this fight in Ramadi," Warren, said, adding "It's a very important fight and it needs to be finished."

Russia may conduct air strikes against ISIS in Iraq if requested

Russia conducted its first air strikes against ISIS in Syria on September 30.

Previously Iraq's Prime Minister Haider Abadi had said his country would welcome the help of the Russian Air Force against ISIS and complained of a lack of air support from US-led coalition forces.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters that Russia is not planning to extend its air strikes into Iraq.

"We were not invited or asked," Lavrov said. "We are a polite people as you know. We don't come if we're not invited."

Hakim al Zamili, a leading Shiite, politician said, "In the upcoming few days or weeks, I think Iraq will be forced to ask Russia to launch air strikes, and that depends on their success in Syria," Reuters reported.

TRTWorld and agencies