ISIS Begins Assault on Habbaniyah Base West of Ramadi
— Captain Fallujah (@shlonesh) May 19, 2015
US troops are no longer stationed at the base.
— اغرد خارج السرب (@gomana_degirmen) May 19, 2015
— Nathan Ruser (@Nrg8000) May 19, 2015
— #selectamilenio1 (@selectamilenio1) May 19, 2015
Shiite militias moved into the government airbase on Monday.
Shiite Muslim militias moved onto a government air base Monday in predominantly Sunni Muslim Anbar province in preparation for a counterattack on Ramadi as a battle brewed that will prove or disprove U.S. officials’ insistence that the Islamic State is on the defensive in Iraq.
Islamic State forces were said to be massing to meet the promised militia offensive, their arsenal bolstered by weapons, armored vehicles and tanks left behind when elite Iraqi government troops fled Ramadi on Sunday in the worst defeat for the Iraqi government since last summer’s loss of the northern city of Mosul.
Residents of Ramadi said hundreds of Islamic State fighters were streaming out of the city in the direction of the Habbaniyah air base, even as the leaders of the Shiite militias massing there said their offensive to retake the city was imminent. Jaafar al Husseini of the militia Kataeb Hezbollah told the Agence France-Presse news agency that he thought the announcement of an offensive to retake Ramadi would come “tomorrow, God willing.”
John Kerry predicted Monday that Iraqi forces would reclaim Ramadi in short order.