“A special US force has arrived at the Ayn al-Asad Airbase in western Anbar to do their part in retaking areas still held by ISIS,” Ibrahim Fahdawi, head of Khalidiya district security committee told Rudaw.
The force’s main duty is to protect Iraq’s borders with Syria and Jordan from ISIS militant infiltration, Fahdawi explained.
Iraqi troops retook Ramadi from ISIS in late December but have been since held down by militants in Hussaibiyah and other districts.
Fahdawi believes that the US force will support the Iraqi soldiers and prevent ISIS from sending reinforcements to retake Rawa, Qaim and Ana in western Anbar.
Days after Iraqi army declared Ramadi free from ISIS control, US Army Captain Chance McCrew told reporters in Baghdad there were still several hundred militants inside the city in the direction of Fallujah.
A Shiite militia official told Rudaw that booby traps and bombs together with the area’s population density are the reason for the army’s slow progress against the remaining militants in the area.
“Military operation in Ramadi are ongoing… This front is complex due to population density,” said Brig. Ahmed Al Bailawi, an official from the Shiite militia group of Hashd al-Shaabi, adding that ISIS has “booby trapped all houses and alleys of the area.”
“Bomb disposal teams have begun defusing bombs in 85 percent of the region,” Al Bailawi said. “Over the past three days, our forces have arrived at a main road close to the southern Hussaibiyah center.”