The Associated Press reports: So complete was the destruction of Ramadi that a local reporter who had visited the city many times hardly recognized it.
“Honestly, this is the main street,” Amaj Hamid, a member of Iraq’s elite counterterrorism forces, told the TV crew as they entered from the southwest.
He swerved to avoid the aftermath of months of fighting: rubble, overturned cars and piles of twisted metal. Airstrikes and homemade bombs laid by the Islamic State group had shredded the poured-concrete walls and ceilings of the houses and shops along the road.
Ramadi, once home to about 500,000 people, now largely lies in ruins. A U.N. report released Saturday used satellite imagery to assess the devastation, concluding that more than 3,000 buildings had been damaged and nearly 1,500 destroyed in the city 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad.
All told, more than 60 percent of Anbar’s provincial capital has been destroyed by constant air bombardment and the scorched-earth practices of IS fighters in retreat, according to local estimates. [Continue reading…]