With Iraqi forces having control of half of the desert town of ar-Rutbah yesterday, ISIS have overrun some of the very last positions held by the pro-government fighters.
Although according to Al-Jazeera’s Breaking News twitter has claimed that the whole town was captured, other reports suggest this is not the case.
عاجل | مصادر للجزيرة: تنظيم الدولة يسيطر على كامل مدينة الرطبة بعد إنسحاب القوات العراقية
— الجزيرة – عاجل (@AJABreaking) October 24, 2016
ISIS have not confirmed through its media Amaq News that it has captured the town, but it did state that it has laid assault on the military barracks on the outskirt of the town of only 22,000.
They continued by saying that the assault on one of the last government held neighborhoods, Karabilah, began with a suicide attack that dispersed the defenders. This led to Iraqi forces including the Sahwah tribal fighters to flee towards the desert and relinquishing control of the neighborhood to ISIS.
Commander of the Sahwah tribal fighters, Albu Isa Sahwah, was killed along with his bodyguards in clashes with ISIS in Karabilah neighborhood, dealing a huge blow to the defense of the city.
A military commander told The New Arab that “Militants managed to capture the military area north of the city and forced government forces, including tribal fighters to retreat added that the “withdrawal was due to a lack of air support provided to the small number of Iraqi soldiers present.”
In support of the lack of government reinforcements, US airstrikes have reportedly supported the defense of the town.
Meanwhile, ISIS have reportedly also executed Sunni tribal Sheikhs as they recently entered.
Amaq have also released footage on the intensity of the fighting in the town.
ISIS have launched deadly attacks in not only ar-Rutbah, but also on Sinjar where they spectacularly failed but have been causing chaos in Kirkuk. This is in the attempt to distract Iraqi forces from liberating Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.