"Islamic State fighters seized two towns in western Iraq, after besieging hundreds of soldiers, according to a regional official.
The militant group has captured Albu Etha and al-Hamdhiya, Faleh al-Issawi, deputy head of Anbar provincial council, said by phone today. He said some Iraqi troops were killed and others deserted their posts, without giving details.
Earlier the head of the Anbar council, Sabah Karhout, had said that at least two battalions of the Iraqi army, or 260 men, were trapped near Albu Etha, and that efforts were being made to send reinforcements and enable them to break the siege.
The clashes are taking place in a region where U.S.-led airstrikes are seeking to roll back the insurgents’ advance. Karhout and al-Issawi said that Islamic State controls at least half of the city of Ramadi, the provincial capital, though they said that elsewhere in Anbar the airstrikes have enabled security forces to recapture territory." Bloomberg
These two garrisons were only fifty miles or so from the western side of Baghdad. Evidently the surrounded units made repeated attempts to obtain relief and reinforcements from the capital but to no avail. When they ran out of ammunition they fled. It is clear that the Iraqi government is no more able to deal with IS now than they were a few months ago. IS continues to clear its rear areas of pockets of government forces like these. Once they finish that they will have a freer hand to move on with whatever it is they intend to do next. pl
"Shells continued to fall on Kobane on Monday afternoon as the Islamic State sustained its attack, two days after the U.S-led coalition struck militant positions near the city in an attempt to weaken their offensive. Some of those shells fell in Turkish territory Monday, drawing attention to Turkey’s hands-off approach to the militants’ advance. Turkish authorities have prevented Turkish Kurds from entering Syria to fight alongside their brethren." Washpost
The Turks are letting Kurdish refugees from Kobane enter their country but are using water cannons and tear gas to prevent Kurdish reinforcements from farther east entering Kobane from the Turkish side of the border. In other words they are assisting IS in its efforts to take the town. At the same time they have moved armor to their side of the border in what seems to be a PR demonstration of resistance to any IS effort to pursue into Turkey. IMO this is merely a gesture because there is no infantry with these tanks. The soldiers here will tell you all that tanks do not operate alone if you expect to fight. Tanks alone are very vulnerable to infantry armed with things like RPGs. US air attacks on this IS force at Kobane does not seem to have had much effect. pl
"A senior source in the Kurdish Peshmerga said troops had entered the town of Rabia on the border with Syria, after seizing the villages of Al Saudiyah and Mahmudiyah.
“Ground troops are now fighting in the centre of Rabia,” which lies about 100kms northwest of Mosul.
He said Peshmerga forces, backed by artillery and warplanes, were also attacking Zumar, about 60kms northwest of the city, near the reservoir of Iraq’s largest dam, which has been a key battleground between the Kurds and the militants.
Both Rabia and Zumar were areas which the Peshmerga seized in the chaos that followed the militants’ capture of Mosul in a lightning offensive in early June." Gulfnews
Ah, some good news! I don't quite understand why the PM are re-taking Rabia if they captured it in June. The PM have never had much experience with tanks and artillery and are not yet trained to use these weapons. They have some captured equipment but not a lot in running condition. Where did they get this support and who is operating the equipment? The Iranians played a major role in re-taking the Mosul Dam, perhaps they are involved again. pl