ISIS launched spoiling attacks across Iraq to relieve pressure by anti-ISIS forces on multiple fronts. ISIS’s attacks follow operations by the Coalition and ISF and Iraq and the Coalition-backed National Democratic Forces in Syria to constrain ISIS on both fronts. In a recent press conference, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesperson Col. Steve Warren cited ongoing anti-ISIS operations in Baiji, Makhoul, and Sinjar in northern Iraq as well as Hit and Ramadi in western Iraq, combined with operations in Shaddadi and Deir ez-Zour in southern Syria.
Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and "Popular Mobilization" recaptured the Baiji Oil Refinery on October 21 following operations to recapture Baiji city on October 14. Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi then visited Baiji city on October 23, marking the city's full recapture. ISW is thus upgrading Baiji and the Baiji Oil Refinery from Contested to ISF-held locations. PUK Peshmerga have also maintained limited gains in villages in southern Kirkuk near Taza and Daquq as part of anti-ISIS operations that began on September 12.
The U.S. escalated its role in the anti-ISIS fight by having U.S. special operators participate in a Peshmerga-led raid under “advise and assist” powers near Hawija in southwestern Kirkuk.
Russia’s recent intervention in Syria will generate more opportunities for the Islamic State than it quells. If the Islamic State’s core defenses around major cities in Iraq and Syria hold, the Islamic State will weather Russia’s intervention and likely emerge stronger. New via West Point Combating Terrorism Center: The Sentinel
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Iranian proxy militias have made rapid progress in Baiji.
Two parallel security operations by anti-ISIS forces are underway in Iraq, one in Ramadi that is led by the Iraqi Security Forces with U.S.-led coalition support, and one that is led by Iranian agents in Baiji.
The Russian formation of a coordination cell in Baghdad is an inflection point aimed at undercutting U.S. influence over the direction of the anti-ISIS efforts in Iraq and Syria. However, the Russian footprint in Iraq is much smaller than in Syria, while U.S. influence over the ISF and Iraqi state are much greater than U.S. influence in Syria. The U.S.
ISIS claimed a VBIED attack in a market area in Zubair, south of Basra, as part of its longstanding Wilayat Janub, which previously claimed attacks primarily in areas south of Baghdad, including Jurf al-Sakhar.