Inside Story

The fight for Ramadi: A turning point against ISIL?

Iraqi forces continue their offensive to take back key city in Anbar Province.

For months, the Iraqi government has promised a major offensive to retake cities held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

And in the last week it has begun to deliver on that pledge by moving to win back the city of Ramadi.

As the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, Ramadi lies in the heartland of the country’s Sunni population.

It is less than 100km west of Baghdad.

On Tuesday Iraqi forces engaged ISIL fighters in the centre of the city for the first time since it fell last May.

And Iraq says hundreds of ISIL fighters have been killed in the last two weeks, with the help of US air strikes.

The forces on the ground include soldiers and Sunni tribal fighters. However, they do not include the Shia militias who have dominated much of the fight against ISIL this year.

So, has this offensive put ISIL on the retreat?

And has the Iraqi government learnt lessons from its previous failures? 

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


Rahman Aljebouri – Senior Programme Officer for Middle East and North Africa, National Endowment for Democracy

Matthew Glanville – former special adviser to the Iraqi government

Sabah al-Mukhtar – President of the Arab Lawyers Association