As we go to press, Iraqi Special Operations Forces are entering the city center of Ramadi to liberate it from ISIS.  Despite the daily frantic reports in the media, ISIS is perhaps the most over exaggerated threat of our time.  In this case, they have around three hundred fighters inside Ramadi, many of them reputed to be Chechens and Chinese Muslims from the province of Xingjang.  A year ago, SOFREP encountered similar reports of Chinese on the battlefield in Syria.

Ramadi is a key strategic city in the coalition effort to drive ISIS out of Iraq.  With Ramadi taken, it opens the door to Fallujah and the rest of central Iraq.  To this end, the coalition has been training ISOF units and the Iraqi forces have been fighting around the outskirts of Ramadi for months.

A coalition airstrike in Ramadi called in by an Iraqi forward observer several days ago

Entering the fray today is the Iraqi CTS, Counter-Terrorism Service, specifically the Special Tactics Unit which is the elite unit of the CTS.  CTS has received training from Australia’s 1st Commando Regiment with some help from Italian Special Operations units in recent months.  American troops from 1st Special Forces Group has trained Iraqi forward observers to help call in coalition airstrikes on the ground and also ran an Operator’s Training Course (OTC) for Iraqi CTS personnel.  SOF units from Norway and Italy worked extensively to train the Special Tactics Group.  CTS is now reported to be amongst the best trained and most professional forces fielded by the Iraqi military.

The Coalition, consisting of American, Canadian, Danish, Italian, Norwegian, Belgian, and Dutch forces to enable ISOF, specifically the CTS, is clearly paying dividends in the region.