Iraq says its armed forces are advancing towards the city of Ramadi from the north in preparation of an offensive against Islamic State militants controlling the city. Rough Cut (no reporter naration).
Iraq says its forces advance towards Ramadi
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
EDITOR: PLEASE NOTE THIS EDIT CONTAIN CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL
Iraq said on Saturday (November 21) its armed forces are advancing towards the city of Ramadi from the north as part of an attempt to encircle the city in preparation of an offensive against Islamic State militants controlling Ramadi, now that months-long efforts to cut off supply lines to the city are having an effect.
A statement released by the Ministry of Defence said that forces of the army’s 10th Mechanised Infantry Division are continuing their advance towards the centre of the city from the northern side supported by Iraqi air forces and heavy artillery shelling.
The fall of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, to the ultra-radical group in May was the biggest defeat for Iraq’s weak central government in nearly a year, dampening its hopes of routing the Sunni militants from the country’s north and west.
Retaking the city of 450,000 would provide a major psychological boost to Iraqi security forces, who have mostly collapsed in the face of advances by Islamic State, which last year seized a third of Iraq, a major OPEC oil producer and U.S ally.
The ultimate goal for Iraqi forces is to break Islamic State’s grip over its main stronghold Mosul, the biggest city in the north. Critical momentum is needed in order to achieve that.
The Ramadi offensive has been impeded by heavy use of improvised explosive devices, inadequate troops and equipment due to government cash shortages, and stringent rules of engagement for U.S.-led air strikes, Iraqi army and federal police officers involved in the battle told Reuters.
The ministry also released footage purporting to show air strikes by coalition forces that destroyed an Islamic State tactical unit and a building believed to be controlled by the group near Ramadi, Iraq and Talafar in the city of Mosul.