An Iranian sponsored sectarian army comprising of Al Qods Brigades, Shiite militias and Iraqi security personnel numbering nearly 12 000 has been beaten back with heavy casualties as it tried to advance on the Sunni city of Ramadi. The Islamic State captured Ramadi from the Iraqi Army when the latter fled in May this year. It remains the militant group’s most stunning success of late. Ramadi, the capital of the Sunni dominated central province of Anbar lies on a strategic location 110 km west of the capital Baghdad and sustained control of the city means Baghdad remains a potential target for the Salafi Jihadists.
Across the border in Syria, Bashar al Assad’s Alewite Syrian Army and Iranian proxy Hezbollah are facing stiff resistance from besieged Sunni rebels in the city of Zabadani, west of Damascus. Reports indicate that 3 senior Syrian Army officers and atleast 4 Hezbollah commanders have been killed so far. Another joint Syrian Army-Hezbollah offensive has stalled 7 km short of its targeted city of Palmyra, held by the Islamic State. The Syrian Army is crippled with battle fatigue after more than 4 years of all out civil war and morale also seems to be at an all time low as soldiers continue to defect showing a general lack of will to fight and die in a war that has already been long lost.