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Humanitarian Situation 'Critical' As IS Launches Waves Of Attacks On Ramadi


Members of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) conducting a patrol in Ramadi in July.

Members of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) conducting a patrol in Ramadi in July.

The humanitarian situation in Iraq's beleaguered Anbar Province has reached the most critical level since the local government declared bankruptcy in November, an RFE/RL correspondent in Iraq has reported.

Islamic State (IS) group militants are preventing food and fuel from reaching parts of the province, particularly those that the extremist group does not fully control. Many parts of Anbar have also been cut off by Islamic State gunmen, the correspondent said.

Anbar's hospitals are also facing severe medical shortages, particularly in Fallujah where the general hospital says it has run out of medicines.

The Iraqi government has said this week that the number of internally displaced persons in Iraq has increased by an additional 10,000 over the past 10 days as a result of Iraqi military operations against Islamic State militants. Baghdad has said that there are a total of 470,000 internally displaced persons from Anbar, Diyala, Saladin and Nineveh provinces.

IS Carrying Out Waves Of Attacks In Ramadi

The reports of the critical humanitarian situation in Anbar come as Islamic State militants made another attempt on December 10 to overrun the government complex in the center of the provincial capital, Ramadi.

Anbar's police chief, Major General Kazim Fahdawi told Iraq's Alsumaria news that the Iraqi security forces managed again to repel the attack, killing 15 Islamic State gunmen.

Fears That IS Will Overrun Ramadi

The attack was the fourth consecutive assault on the government complex that Islamic State has carried out this week, as fears that the militant group will overrun the town grow.

On December 9, Islamic State militants stormed the complex from three different directions, but Iraqi security forces managed to prevent the gunmen from penetrating the complex, according to the RFE/RL correspondent. Eight militants were reportedly killed in that assault.

It is not possible to confirm the numbers of Islamic State militants killed in the clashes.

The Kurdish outlet Rudaw reported on December 9 that Islamic State was assembling a large force outside Ramadi for an all-out assault on the city.

According to Rudaw, Iraqi lawmaker Faris Taha Muhammad said that the repeated attacks on the Ramadi complex by Islamic State appear to be aimed at depleting the Iraqi security and tribal forces. Islamic State was "betting on the fall of Anbar province in order to defy the world," Muhammad said.

Tribal forces warned this week that they are running desperately low on ammunition and weapons and have called on the Iraqi central government to send supplies.

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

About This Blog

"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world. The blog's primary author, James Miller, closely covered the first three years of the Arab Spring, with a focus on Syria, and is now the managing editor of The Interpreter, where he covers Russia's foreign and domestic policy and the Kremlin's wars in Syria and Ukraine. Follow him on Twitter: @Millermena

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