Iraqi Forces Regain Ground From IS

Iraqi Forces Regain Ground From ISIraqi Forces Regain Ground From IS

Iraqi forces regained ground from Islamic State militants in western Iraq on Sunday, advancing towards the city of Ramadi one week after it fell to the insurgents. A police major and a pro-government tribal fighter in the area said they had retaken the town of Husaiba al-Sharqiya, about 10km east of Ramadi, with the help of Shiite paramilitaries, Reuters reported.

Shiite militias, Iraqi security forces and pro-government Sunni tribal fighters launched a counter-offensive on Saturday against the insurgents, who have pushed east towards a key military base after overrunning Ramadi. “We regained control over Husaiba and are laying plans to make more advances to push back IS militants further,” said local tribal leader Amir al-Fahdawi. “The morale of the fighters is high after the arrival of reinforcements and loads of ammunition.”

The fall of Ramadi last Sunday was the biggest setback for Iraqi forces in almost a year and has cast doubt on the effectiveness of the US-led strategy for fighting the extremist group.

  Hundreds Executed in Palmyra

IS insurgents have executed at least 400 people in Palmyra since capturing the ancient Syrian city four days ago, Syrian state media said on Sunday. “The terrorists have killed more than 400 people… and mutilated their bodies, under the pretext that they cooperated with the government and did not follow orders,” Syria’s state news agency said, citing residents inside the city.

It was not immediately possible to verify the account, but it was consistent with reports by activists that IS fighters had carried out executions since capturing the city from government troops. It added that dozens of those killed were state employees, including the head of nursing department at the hospital and all her family members.

The militants seized the city of around 50,000 people, site of some of the world’s most extensive and best preserved ancient Roman ruins, on Wednesday, days after also capturing the city of Ramadi in neighboring Iraq.