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Monday, December 28

Victory or progress in Ramadi? And were Islamic State fighters evacuated from the city?

Sunday, Dec. 27:  Photo Caption: Iraqi security forces enter heavy damaged downtown Ramadi. Islamic State fighters are putting up a tough fight in the militant-held city of Ramadi, slowing down the advance of Iraqi forces, Gen. Ismail al-Mahlawi, head of the Anbar military operations, said Sunday.
(AP Photo/Rwa Faisal)

Monday, Dec. 28 - RT:  The government complex in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi has been "fully liberated & the Iraqi flag hoisted over the government complex," military officials declared on local TV. The area was Islamic State's last stronghold in the city.

"By controlling the complex this means that they [Islamic State, IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] have been defeated in Ramadi," Sabah al-Numani, a spokesman for the Iraqi counter-terrorism units leading the fight, told the news agency. ...

Monday, Dec. 28 - AP:  Military Making Progress in Fight for Ramadi
Iraqi military forces on Monday retook a strategic government complex in the city of Ramadi from Islamic State militants who have occupied the city since May.

Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool initially announced that Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, had been "fully liberated."

But Gen. Ismail al-Mahlawi, head of military operations in Anbar, quickly clarified that government forces had only retaken a strategic government complex and that parts of the city remained under IS control. IS fighters have retreated from about 70 percent of city, but still control the rest and government forces still don't fully control many of the districts from which the IS fighters have retreated. ...


I had to correct an earlier post in which I mentioned there was an unverified report that a number of IS fighters were being evacuated from Raqqa, or had been.  It turned out the report pertained to Ramadi, not Raqqa. 

When Syria's Army struck a deal with certain fighters to leave Homs, the army knew where those people were going, and the evacuees weren't allowed to take any more than light weapons with them -- handguns, I think.  And the evacuation was above-board; it was well publicized as were the terms of the government's agreement with the fighters. But these fighters weren't Islamic State.  If there is indeed an evacuation of IS fighters from Ramadi, this is a completely different story. 

Here are links to two reports related to the issue -- if an issue actually exists. Again, nothing is confirmed. 

Love Thy Enemy? US Plot to Evacuate Top Jihadis From Ramadi Uncovered;  December 27, Sputnik quoting FARS.

Ramadi's Dirty Little Secret in the War Against ISIS; December 19, Newsweek.


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