Islamic State fighters took control of Ramadi, Iraq on Saturday. The ISIS rebels immediately began public executions of anti-ISIL fighters.
The Islamic State on Saturday consolidated its control over Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s largest province, whose capture by the militants on Friday marked the worst defeat for the Iraqi government since the fall of Mosul nearly a year ago.
Iraqi and local officials said Islamic State fighters were combing through neighborhoods in search of government employees and pro-government tribal fighters and were conducting summary public executions.
The mayor of Ramadi, Mohammed Kubaisi, told McClatchy by phone that some government soldiers and police had withdrawn to a northern suburb in hopes of holding out until promised reinforcements from Baghdad arrive. But as of Saturday evening, despite claims by government officials in Baghdad that fresh troops had been deployed, no reinforcements had arrived and the Islamic State was operating freely in the area, the mayor said.
“There are hundreds of families stuck inside Daash-held areas and they are being used as human shields against the coalition air strikes,” he said, using an Arabic acronym to refer to the Islamic State.
Kubaisi said Islamic State fighters had burned most of the government buildings they captured on Friday and then withdrew “out of fear of the American planes, which would easily be able to target government facilities.” But he said the withdrawal was simply a repositioning to safer locations and that the group controlled virtually all of Ramadi, a city with an estimated 500,000 inhabitants that until Friday was one of the last government-held areas in Anbar province. More than 1,300 U.S. soldiers and Marines lost their lives in Anbar during the U.S. occupation.
Hundreds of residents were filmed fleeing the city on foot.