Despite having relatively advanced U.S. weaponry, Iraqi security forces attempting to defend the key city of Ramadi were routed in heavy fighting all day Sunday. It is worst defeat for Iraq’s central government since ISIS militants stormed the country last June.
Events on Sunday played out similar to last year’s military debacle; supposedly elite units abandoned their U.S.-made weaponry to Islamic State fighters and then promptly fled the area.
The so-called 'elite' unit's cowardice left several hundred soldiers surrounded in what is sure to be a massacre.
Security sources, who for obvious reasons wanted to remain anonymous, described the fight for control of Anbar province's capital as over.
“Only God can save us,” said one officer via phone from inside the Anbar operations center, where officers had been managing the battle.
The officer described a scene in which several hundred policemen and soldiers were surrounded inside the command center, which was repeatedly struck by suicide bombers and heavy artillery fire while the Islamist militants cut off their last routes of escape.
Hours later ISIS social media accounts proclaimed victory and confirmed that the operations center had been overrun. After the ISIS reports efforts to reach sources inside the facility were not successful.
Ramadi was attacked late Thursday evening and was mostly in the control of militants by Saturday. Residents and soliders were in the process of fleeing the city and had abandoned dozens of U.S.-supplied armored vehicles, as well as artillery, heavy machine guns and other military gear as they fled mostly on foot.
“Ramadi has fallen to Daash,” said one Iraqi officer. “There were many suicide bombers and many soldiers and officers are dead.”