Monday, May 18, 2015

ISIS Captures Ramadi

By: Patrick Martin, Genevieve Casagrande, Jessica Lewis McFate, 
and the ISW Iraq and Syria Teams 

For years, ISW has paid close attention to Ramadi and its strategic importance as the capital of the largely Sunni Anbar Province.  ISIS first attacked both Ramadi and Fallujah in January 2014.  Although driven from Ramadi by local tribes and the ISF, ISIS contested control of the city since then.  

ISIS’s capture of Ramadi over May 15-18 was the culmination of months of ISIS probing and shaping operations around the city. Despite strategic gains by ISIS in Anbar and continued attacks on Ramadi throughout 2014, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) largely defended Ramadi successfully and maintained supply lines into the city center. ISIS however came close to overcoming their defenses in October 2014 and December 2014. ISIS resumed major attacks on Ramadi in April 2015, and on May 15, 2015, ISIS launched a coordinated attack on multiple fronts, contesting and eventually seizing major government infrastructure in central Ramadi by May 17, 2015.  This strategic gain constitutes a turning point in ISIS’s ability to set the terms of battle in Anbar as well to project force in eastern Iraq. It is also an important element of ISIS’s consolidation strategy, enhancing ISIS’s overall defense.

This presentation tracks the ISIS campaign against Ramadi from January 2014 to its capture this past weekend.  See the full presentation here.