ISIS continued its campaign for the Euphrates following the fall of Ramadi and Palmyra. In Anbar ISIS seized the Iraqi side of the Tanf/Waleed border crossing with Syria, having captured the Syrian side on May 22. ISIS has mounted complex, coordinated attacks involving multiple VBIEDs against ISF-controlled Haditha and Baghdadi, near al-Asad Airbase, thereby challenging an ISF advance on Ramadi from the west.
Iraq Situation Report
ISIS is attacking Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) positions near and far from Ramadi preemptively to compromise potential ISF counter-offensives against ISIS’s positions in Ramadi, still vulnerable while ISIS is consolidating its power there.
ISIS is consolidating control over Ramadi and launched attacks to the east in an effort to preempt counterattacks by the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and “Popular Mobilization” staging at the Habaniya base.
Ramadi, the birthplace of the Sunni tribal Awakening, has fallen out of government control after resisting ISIS for over a year.
ISIS conducted a main attack upon downtown Ramadi, reportedly making its greatest gains since December 2014, including multiple neighborhoods in central Ramadi and the unconfirmed capture of the Ramadi government complex.
CENTCOM has not confirmed the death of senior ISIS leader Abu Ala al-Afri following a statement from the Iraqi Defense Ministry indicating that a coalition airstrike based on prior intelligence had killed Afri near Mosul. Reports of senior ISIS casualties usually take time to confirm.
The prison break in Khalis that resulted in the escape of ISIS fighters was reminiscent of previous attacks by ISIS that replenished its ranks in 2012-2013.
The contest for the Baiji Oil Renery is accelerating as ISIS cut off supply routes previously used by the ISF and occupied positions within the facility.
During his current visit to Washington, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani reiterated his desire for an independent Kurdistan. Similarly, the U.S. reiterated its desire for a “united, federal, and democratic Iraq,” signaling that it does not support Kurdish autonomy.
The provision in the House Armed Service Committee’s draft defense bill that would permit the U.S. to directly distribute arms to Iraq’s Sunni and Kurdish communities continued to generate negative reactions in Baghdad.