The Iraqi Army’s 7th Division – backed by the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) – launched a new offensive at the strategic desert-village of Rutbah on Monday morning in order to close off the Al-Qa’im border-crossing into Syria. The Iraqi Armed Forces began this offensive by targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham’s (ISIS) front-line defenses from three different axes.
So far, the Iraqi Armed Forces have been able to seize ISIS’ checkpoints outside of Rutbah; however, they have yet to enter this village in the Al-Anbar Governorate. Should the Iraqi Armed Forces liberate Rutbah from the Islamic State terrorists, then they will be within 150 km of the Al-Qa’im border-crossing. More importantly, the liberation of Rutbah will allow the Iraqi Armed Forces to flank the Islamic State terrorists at the Syrian border, leaving them with no option but to retreat west.