US military: Capture of Ramadi 'inevitable'



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BAGHDAD (AP) — A U.S. military spokesman says the capture of the Iraqi city of Ramadi by government troops is "inevitable." But Col. Steve Warren also says it's going to be a "tough fight" that will "take some time."

Iraqi forces are reporting progress in their effort to retake the city from the Islamic State group. They say they've made the most significant incursion into Ramadi since it fell to the militants in May.

Losing Ramadi — the capital of sprawling western Anbar province and Iraq's Sunni heartland — was a major blow to the Iraqi government. It was the government's biggest defeat since Islamic State militants swept through areas in the country's north and west, including Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul, in the summer of 2014.

The U.S. military says American advisers are still in place outside Ramadi, at a desert air base that is serving as a training site.

%@AP Links

170-w-34-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent, with Colonel Steve Warren, U.S. military spokesman)--Iraqi forces say they're making progress in retaking a key city from Islamic State militants. AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports from the Pentagon. (22 Dec 2015)

<<CUT *170 (12/22/15)££ 00:34

164-a-06-(Colonel Steve Warren, U.S. military spokesman, in teleconference with Pentagon reporters)-"end is coming"-Colonel Steve Warren, a U.S. military spokesman, says Iraqi forces will retake Ramadi from Islamic State militants. (22 Dec 2015)

<<CUT *164 (12/22/15)££ 00:06 "end is coming"

APPHOTO BAG101: In this Monday, Dec. 21, 2015 photo, Iraqi soldiers plant the national flag over a government building in Ramadi as security forces advance their position in northern Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi forces on Tuesday reported progress in the military operation to retake the city of Ramadi from the Islamic State group, saying they made the most significant incursion into the city since it fell to the militants in May. (AP Photo) (21 Dec 2015)

<<APPHOTO BAG101 (12/21/15)££

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