The Associated Press reports: Nearly every night for a year, mortar and sniper fire from Islamic State group militants has pinned down outgunned Iraqi troops on the edge of Fallujah.
The city, the first to fall to the Sunni extremists a year ago this month, exemplifies the lack of progress in Iraq’s war against the Islamic State group, which holds a third of the country. U.S.-led airstrikes and Iranian aid have helped Iraqi troops, militiamen and Kurdish fighters take back bits around Islamic State-held territory, but recapturing it all remains far out of reach.
“We are constantly on alert and don’t sleep very much,” said Saad al-Sudani, an Iraqi soldier among the beleaguered troops outside of Fallujah. “We are waiting for any kind of support.”
The fall of Fallujah in January 2014 started the Islamic State group’s dramatic blitz across Iraq. In June, the extremists captured Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, then swept south toward Baghdad in a march that put almost all the Sunni-majority regions of northern and western Iraq into its hands. The Iraqi military crumbled, with troops often dropping their weapons and fleeing. [Continue reading…]