In the western Anbar towns that have recently been relatively calm, yesterday a mortar round fell in the vicinity of Col. Majeed Al-Fahdawi, the commander of the Iraqi army's 28th Border Guards Brigade, killing him on the spot and wounding 4 of his entourage. Meanwhile, since last night, army units have withdrawn, enabling the gunmen to seize the border crossing at Al-Qa'im on the Syrian border. On the Syrian side, the Deir el-Zor area of the border is also under the control of ISIL gunmen.
Also yesterday, other border villages along the Iraqi-Syrian border were also seized by the gunmen.
A security source has said that the Al-Qa'im region has been the scene of fierce clashes that have left at least 34 Iraqi army personnel killed, allowing the gunmen to take control of the region.
The western townships of Rawa and Ana are also now controlled by gunmen who, after a few brief clashes forced the withdrawal of the army units toward the souther desert regions. Security sources are reporting that the Jazeera and Badiya Operations Command, at the juncture between Anbar and Nineveh Governorates, is besieged by the gunmen.
In Ana township, one of the calmest in Anbar, everyone was surprised by the withdrawal of army, police, and security units. There were some burglaries, but local tribesmen and civil leaders came out and took over all the government and public offices in the area. The security situation is still confused and citizens are still afraid in the face of the speedy takeover by the gunmen of the previously quiet western regions. Many residents of Al-Qa'im have been making their way to what are perceived as safer areas in Anbar, but they are finding that events on the ground are deteriorating faster than they can move.
In Ramadi, clashes are continuing after gunmen seized the countryside areas that have been calm so far.
In Saqlawiya, 30 km outside Fallujah, intermittent clashes were followed by explosions and aerial bombardment of parts of the township.
In Fallujah today, aerial strikes have targeted various districts, and there have been clashes along the main highway and on into the southern and southwestern sectors of the city. Residents are still on the move, fearing the outcome of the clashes and military operations and the shelling. Five residents, comprising one family - a man, two women and two children -, were killed when their car was hit in an aerial attack.