Russian air strikes had destroyed 556 militant targets in 164 combat sorties conducted since December 25. Successfully hit targets were located in Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia, Hama, Homs, Damascus, Deir ez-Zor, and Raqqa provinces. The Russian air support helped the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to stage offensives to the north and east of Latakia Province. Three significant plateaus towards Kabbani and Sirmaniyah fell into the army control.
Separately, the pro-government forces have continued successful advances in the province of Aleppo. The SAA liberated the village of Doudyan and destroyed militant outposts and supply routes in the villages of Tal Jebin, Tal Meseybeen, Shwehene, Maaret Artiq and Shimaeya. The SAA also took control of the village of Sharba.
On Dec. 27 the Iraqi Security Forces declared victory over ISIS militants in the city of Ramadi. The declaration comes after the Iraq forces encircled the city and seized the central administration complex. However, there are many pockets of militants still entrenched in various positions throughout the city. The Iraqi security forces will also have to spend significant time to clear out the remaining improvised explosive devices that infest the city.
Pentagon confirmed that militants were cleared from the government complex. But some US experts have already noted that the Ramadi’s strategic value is repeatedly overestimated.
According to them, Ramadi is just one location in the contested Anbar province and the Iraqi army will face serious problems in attempts to clear nearby ISIS locations in Fallujah, Hit and areas west of Haditha. This rapidly reaction marks that Iraq made a serious step in war on ISIS. A series of such steps could increase the Iraqi security forces independence from the US-led coalition support what definitely isn’t a goal of the US political leadership.
[ VT Editor’s Note: The mentioned US experts are spinning this story. Ramadi will now become a secure forward base not only for future operation in the west, with better drone, helicopter, and 155 howitzer coverage. I would not want to be an “ISIS location” with drone spotters bring a four guy 155 battery done on my head. It’s all over with just one to two minutes of fire…with no burial needed as there is nothing left to bury.
Fallujah now is cut off from the rear for supplies, so it cannot put up a sustained fight, and tends to encourage the jihadis to start pulling out and just leaving new recruits behind with the promise of the 70 virgins… Jim W. Dean ]