The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is moving fast, and appears inspired by its triumphs
ISIS attacks send shockwaves among Iraqi forces fighting the militants
Iraqi forces and Anbar tribesmen threaten to flee if the U.S. military does not intervene
Despite airstrikes and international outrage against ISIS militants, the terror group is overrunning Iraqi forces and slowly marching on toward a province on Baghdad’s doorstep. And as alarming developments piled up over the weekend, Iraqi forces threatened to flee if the U.S. military does not intervene.
Here are where things stand:
On Baghdad’s doorstep
ISIS fighters are making headway against poorly-equipped local forces. The Islamist extremists appear set to take Kobani, a key Syrian town along the Turkish border. Next up: an entire province on Baghdad’s doorstep.
Iraq’s Anbar province pleaded for U.S. ground troops to halt the group’s rapid, relentless assault.
The terror group came within 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) of the Baghdad airport, according to the leader of U.S. military efforts to fight ISIS in Iraq.
Iraq’s military abandoned a strategically important base in Anbar province after heavy fighting with ISIS militants, provincial security force sources told CNN on Monday.
“You’re not going to wait until they’re climbing over the wall,” Dempsey said. “Had (ISIS forces) overrun the Iraqi unit, it was a straight shot to the Baghdad airport.”
Anbar province at risk
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is moving – fast.
The group, which calls itself the Islamic State, controls about 80% of the province, according to Sabah Al-Karhout, president of Anbar Provincial Council.
If the province falls, the Sunni extremists would take over an area from the perimeter of Iraq’s capital to Raqqa in Syria, according to Falleh al-Issawi, the provincial council’s deputy head.
Targeting law enforcement
No one is safe from the militants. The police chief of the province was killed over the weekend when a blast targeted his convoy, authorities said.
The attack is just one of the things sending shockwaves among forces fighting the militants.
Iraqi army forces and Anbar tribesmen have threatened to abandon their weapons if the U.S. military does not intervene.
The army soldiers lack training and equipment, according to local authorities. Already, some 1,800 tribesmen in the province have been killed or injured in the struggle.
Iraqi officials have been adamant that they don’t want U.S. forces on the ground. U.S. President Barack Obama has not shown any intent to deploy any.
Offensive against ISIS in Syria in ruins, too
ISIS is still advancing in Syria, where it emerged during the years-long civil war. Its current focus there is Kobani, a Kurdish enclave a stone’s throw from Turkey.
And the militants are gradually taking control of a large chunk of Kobani.
Kobani fell eerily silent Sunday after clashes earlier in the day, according to a fighter in the city. He said he fears ISIS is planning a major assault.
One day earlier, ISIS fighters clashed with local troops over the official border crossing into Turkey at Mursitpinar.
Should they take it, the militants would control three official border crossings between Turkey and Syria and a stretch of the border about 60 miles (97 kilometers) long.
CNN’s Chandrika Narayan and Ben Wedeman contributed to this report.