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Fallujah Falls to Iraqi Security Forces

 

 

Iraqi security forces have retaken the city of Fallujah after a months-long battle. After taking Hit, Rutba, and Ramadi earlier in the year, Iraqi forces had taken 70 percent of Fallujah by the end of last week, and announced the conquest of the city early this week. Fallujah was the first major city to fall to Daesh/ISIL forces in 2014, and with two years to prepare defenses, the city was expected to be much more difficult to take than it was. Iraqi forces are now beginning to aid the remaining civilians and work to remove booby traps and IEDs left behind by the retreating Daesh forces. Iraqi armed forces are also clearing villages farther north in the Euphrates valley.

“The loss of Fallujah will further deny Daesh access to a province critically important to its overall goals.  It will also reduce their ability to threaten civilians in Baghdad,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a briefing.

“I congratulate Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and the Iraqi people for their progress in freeing the city of Fallujah from the grip of ISIL,” Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said in a statement. “The United States military and our coalition partners are proud to have supported the Iraqi Security Forces under the prime minister’s command in this important operation, which is another milestone in our joint efforts to accelerate ISIL’s defeat, and to continue supporting our Iraqi partners moving forward.”

“The operation in Fallujah has been a significant challenge for the ISF and for the coalition.  It will not be the last. Hard fighting remains ahead, as does the vital task of caring for the residents of Fallujah displaced by ISIL’s violence and beginning to rebuild the city so that its people may safely return.  It is also essential to complete the investigations the government of Iraq has launched to address alleged abuses of civilians.  Despite the hard work still to do, the clearing of Fallujah will make the people of Iraq safer and bring us all one step closer to dealing a ISIL a lasting defeat.”

“The loss of Fallujah will further deny Daesh access to a province critically important to its overall goals.  It will also reduce their ability to threaten civilians in Baghdad,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a briefing.

Manbij

This U.S. Central Command graphic, “Isolating the Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant,” released June 3, 2016, depicts how retaking Manbij, Syria, will further cripple the terrorist organization, U.S. Central Command spokesman Air Force Col. Pat Ryder told Pentagon reporters. DoD graphic

Meanwhile, in Syria a major assault is now underway on Manbij.

“Despite continued ISIL resistance, those forces have begun their push into the city which is surrounded on all sides now and they have begun clearing ISIL defenses in the city’s outskirts,” said Cook.

“In the past 24 hours near Manbij, eight coalition airstrikes have struck seven ISIL tactical units, destroyed six ISIL fighting positions and two ISIL vehicles.  In the last four weeks since the beginning of the ground operation to assault the city of Manbij began, coalition forces have conducted 246 strikes in support of local ground forces.

“And cutting off ISIL’s access through Manbij means taking away a major foreign fighter hub for ISIL.  It’s also an important step in our coalition’s push towards ultimately targeting ISIL’s self-proclaimed capital in Raqqah.”