A joint effort by the Iraqi military and Shi’ite forces backed by air support from the United States has managed to break a two-month long siege of the town of Amerli in northern Iraq, reports Reuters. Marked as a major success against the increasing clout of the ISIS in the area, Iraqi security forces have managed to enter the city after defeating indoctrinated fighters of the ISIS who are on a mission to establish an Islamic caliphate. According to Adel al-Bayati, the mayor of Amerli, ISIS fighters were made to flee from the town after heavy fighting overnight.
“Security forces and militia fighters are inside Amerli now after breaking the siege and that will definitely relieve the suffering of residents.”
Overjoyed at the developments, Iraqi military spokesperson Qassim al-Atta quipped;
“Amerli’s battle is a golden victory registered by the Iraqi security forces who are still fighting the terrorist groups in north and south areas of Amerli.”
He added that the ending of the siege at Amerli is only the first step towards the elimination of the ISIS and that the military would regain control of the rest of Iraq in the months to come. The ISIS has been capturing town after town in the past months in a bid to increase their area of influence and now holds a significant portion of Iraqi and Syrian land under their control. Al- atta also clarified that their primary aim now is to capture the town of Tikrit.
“The next step will be holding the ground tightly and liberating all the areas which link Amerli to Salahuddin, Our forces will gather in thousands in Amerli to march towards Tikrit,” he told the Reuters.
Meanwhile whatever little help is coming from the United States seems to be at least for the time being doing good for the Iraqi military and the Sunni militia. U.S. fighter jets carried out precision airstrikes against ISIS positions in a coordinated attack against the militants and has managed to achieve significant success. Residents of Amerli also received humanitarian supplies from the U.S. which was airdropped from U.S., British, French and Australian planes. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has also said that U.S. fighter jets also destroyed three Humvees, a tank and an armed check point under the control of the ISIS. Kurdish peshmerga fighters who are also playing an important role in the resistance against the ISIS is thankful for the U.S’ precision airstrikes, says a report by Time.
“It would have been absolutely impossible without the American planes. The strikes prevented the Islamic State from moving freely and targeted them with 100 percent accuracy,” said a fighter who wished not to be identified.
Meanwhile, residents of the beleaguered Amerli town could not be happier.
“I can see the tanks of the Iraqi army patrolling Amerli’s streets now. I’m very happy we got rid of the Islamic State terrorists who were threatening to slaughter us,” quips Amir Ismael, local.
Most of the population in Amerli are Shia Muslims who in the eyes of the ISIS are apostates since they do not conform to their Sunni beliefs.
[Image Via AFP ]