[Ed. – While the world’s eyes are on Kobani, Iraqi forces are in dire straits under the ISIS assault in Anbar.]
Security officials in Anbar say the Islamic State has been bolstering its fighting force in the province.
In the past few days, the militants have wrested control of the Anbar town of Hit on the Euphrates River, as well as the nearby town of Kubaisa. Both are close to the Ayn al-Asad military base, one of Iraq’s largest. It sends reinforcements and supplies to troops defending the Haditha Dam just northwest of the camp.
According to a recent assessment by the Institute for the Study of War, the Islamic State has conducted a “sophisticated campaign” in Anbar in the past four weeks, which has enabled the group to control most of the territory from the Syrian border to Abu Ghraib in the western suburbs of Baghdad.
The militants have severed the Iraqi army’s supply lines, cut off troops’ communications and consolidated gains that would not be easily disrupted by an air campaign, the report said.
Perhaps most alarming is the jihadists’ advance on Ramadi, 80 miles west of Baghdad.
Iraqi news media outlets reported Monday that security forces had withdrawn from central Ramadi, a claim that Dulaimi, the police chief, later denied. But attacks over the past week have left the militants in control of new neighborhoods in the city.
Local officials have warned the central government that Ramadi may soon fall.