Iraqi Military Runs Out of Ammo as Strategic Border Towns Fall to ISIS
The Iraqi military ran out of Hellfire missiles last week. According to reports, the United States is hoping to resupply the Iraqi government as hastily as possible. This new revelation leaves Iraq with a non-existent air force until they are able to resupply.
Recently, ISIS militants have damaged 28 tanks and shot down 3 helicopters.
Late Saturday, a strategically important border-crossing town between Syria and Iraq, along with three other towns, fell into the possession of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), according to a senior Iraqi official. The official said that ISIS was still making huge gains in its territorial expansion, acquiring much of the space in Anbar, the largest province in Iraq.
The official said the towns of Al-Qaim, Rawa, Ana, and Husaybah were all taken in the Saturday offensive. Al-Qaim is strategically important because ISIS can now more easily regulate the cross-border environment, choosing who and what crosses into Syria and Iraq. Al-Qaim sits across from Deir Ezzor province in Syria, where ISIS controls several towns. Bordering Al-Qaim is the town of Al-Bukamal, controlled by ISIS rival Al Nusra Front. Husaybah is roughly 62 miles outside of Baghdad.
From its new holdings, CNN reporters estimated that ISIS could reach Baghdad in less than four hours.
"This advancement [in Syria] is considered a very important and strategic step because ISIS has tried to take a complete control over areas in the east of Deir Ezzor in order to reach to the Syrian-Iraqi borders, and then to connect its held areas in both Syria and Iraq with each other," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Syrian opposition organization based in London.
On Saturday, thousands of Shiite militiamen took to the streets of Baghdad, marching in parade-like fashion in order to show support for fellow Shia Muslims fighting the ISIS jihadis. "ISIS is a terrorist organization created by the United States. They are the enemy of humanity. We are here to free the land for all Sunni and Shiite and everyone,” said one participant. He continued, "We don't need airstrikes or any external force helping us here. We don't want these American military advisers."
A prominent Shia cleric blamed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki for Iraq’s sectarian clashes. "The main cause of the security deterioration is the bad management of the prime minister; Al-Maliki must leave and resign,” said the cleric.
Early Sunday, there was an unconfirmed report that ISIS jihadis had slain the judge responsible for sentencing former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to death.