ISIS takes Ramadi; Shi’ite militias mobilize

The Iraqi city of Ramadi fell to ISIS over the weekend, sending 25,000 residents fleeing. Government forces defending the city reportedly abandoned their positions after days of intense fighting. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called up Shi'ite militias to re-take the city. A broad front of Shi'ite militias is operating under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilization Units or Hashed al-Shaabi. the Anbar Provincial Council said Sunni tribal militias would also join the offensive to retake the city. (BBC News, ReutersIraqNews, BasNews)

Also over the weekend, US Special Operations forces reportedly killed a key ISIS commander known as Abu Sayyyaf in a raid at al-Omar in eastern Syria, the site pf one of the largest oilfields in Deir Ezzor governorate. The force flew in from Iraq, and allegedly killed the target after meeting resistance. At least 30 other militants were killed in the raid. Abu Sayyyaf's wife, identified as Umm Sayyaf, was taken alive and is now being held in Iraq. Also taken was a young woman of the Yazidi minority, who was apparently being held as a slave. The raid, which was supposedly not coordinated with Damascus, marks the first time that the US has admitted to putting boots on the ground in Syria. (CNN, Middle East Eye)