A Syrian Kurdish refugee child from the Kobani area holds laundry on a cold morning at a camp in Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, on Monday, November 17. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters. ISIS has been advancing in Iraq and Syria as it seeks to create an Islamic caliphate in the region.
By Jomana Karadsheh and Ralph Ellis, CNN
November 24, 2014 — Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
(CNN) — A fierce battle between ISIS militants and Iraqi military and tribal forces is raging close to the main government complex of Anbar province in the center of Ramadi, the capital city.
The battle is happening about 1,000 feet from the complex that houses the regional government and security headquarters.
The fighting started Friday after ISIS militants launched a coordinated assault from different directions around the city. At least 37 people have died in the fighting, authorities said.
ISIS already controls most of Anbar, so Ramadi is highly strategic. If it falls, ISIS will tighten its grip on a large swath from the western outskirts of Baghdad north through Syria and to the Turkish border.
While losing ground in Anbar, Iraqi forces say they’ve made progress in the past week in Diyala province with the help of coalition airstrikes.
Iraqiya state TV has been reporting that the strategic towns of Jalawla and Saadiya, located a few kilometers apart, have been retaken by Kurdish Peshmerga forces, Iraqi military and police and Shiite militias.
They retook Baiji refinery, the country’s largest refinery that was lost to ISIS in June.
Iraqiya TV also aired footage from the city of Khanaqin in the Diyala province showing Peshmerga fighters who were interviewed and talked about their readiness to fight ISIS.