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Current Page: Politics | Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Obama Reveals US Has Launched Over 1,900 Airstrikes Against ISIS and Spent Billions to Help Iraq; but Key City of Ramadi in Grave Danger of Falling

Obama Reveals US Has Launched Over 1,900 Airstrikes Against ISIS and Spent Billions to Help Iraq; but Key City of Ramadi in Grave Danger of Falling

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama shake hands after their bilateral meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, April 14, 2015. In a warning to Iran, Obama on Tuesday said foreign fighters in Iraq must respect its sovereignty when assisting in the fight against Islamic State militants. Obama, speaking in the Oval Office with al-Abadi, said the two men had discussed Iran's role in Iraq at length. | (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Following the visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to the White House on Tuesday, the Obama administration revealed that U.S. Armed Forces have launched over 1,900 airstrikes against terror group ISIS in the country, and have spent billions through various avenues to help Iraq.

An Iraqi official warned after the meeting, however, that the key city of Ramadi is in great danger of falling to the militants.

"This visit provides an opportunity to review the important progress that Iraq and the United States have made together and to discuss ways to further enhance cooperation across the full spectrum of the strategic partnership," a joint statement by Obama and al-Abadi read.

"The rapid and extensive response by the United States to the challenges facing Iraq has highlighted the robust and steadfast relationship between our two countries, and the president and the prime minister agreed on the importance of continuing to strengthen this enduring relationship."

A detailed White House fact sheet in light of the meeting revealed several updates on the war in Iraq. It reported that over 1,900 U.S.-led airstrikes have hit ISIS targets in Iraq, and claimed that as a result of the multi-national effort, the terror group has lost between 25 to 30 percent of its control over populated areas in the country.

Members of the Iraqi security forces and Shi'ite fighters fire a rocket, during clashes with Islamic State militants in the town of Tal Ksaiba, near the town of al-Alam, March 7, 2015. Iraqi security forces and Shi'ite militia fighters struggled to advance on Saturday into the two towns of al-Alam and al-Dour near Tikrit, their progress slowed by fierce defence from Islamic State militants. | (Photo: Reuters/Thaier Al-Sudani)

The U.S. government has also been heavily arming Iraqi ground troops, with over 100 million rounds of ammunition, 62,000 small arms systems, 1,700 Hellfire missiles, and six M1A1 tanks.

What is more, the U.S. has spent $1.6 billion in the Iraq Train and Equip Fund, another $771 million in the Foreign Military Financing program, and over $407 million in humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people since the start of fiscal year 2014.

The White House added that a strong relationship with the Iraqi government is central to eradicating ISIS' control over the region.

Despite the report on the progress made in the fight against terror, several Iraqi cities remain captured or under siege. A local Iraqi official revealed on Wednesday that the city of Ramadi is under immense pressure and could fall "within hours" to the jihadists.

Deputy Head of the Anbar Provincial Council Falih Essawi told CNN that government troops are uncertain how much longer they will be able to hold out under the militant's ongoing attack. Ramadi holds a position of central importance as the capital of Anbar province, and is located 70 miles west of Baghdad.

Essawi asked both Obama and the central Iraqi government for more help in trying to hold Ramadi. He revealed that ISIS militants have managed to make significant advances in key areas eat of the city, and over the weekend they seized control of areas to the north.

With refugees streaming out of the city, government forces control only areas west of Ramadi, but it's unclear how much longer they can push ISIS back.

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