By Patrick Martin and ISW Iraq Team
Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) recaptured the Palestine Bridge that spans the Euphrates River northwest of Ramadi on November 25. Operation Inherent Resolve spokesperson Col. Steve Warren highlighted the Palestine Bridge as critical for cutting the water supply route to Ramadi on November 5. With the capture of the bridge, ISF have made progress in encircling Ramadi, but they are not yet in a position to launch an operation to recapture the city center. The U.S.-led anti-ISIS Coalition has significantly increased the number of airstrikes targeting ISIS in and around Ramadi over the past two weeks, but operations to recapture the city, which have been underway since ISIS captured the city on May 18, continue to achieve slow progress. The recapture of Ramadi remains critical for the ISF and PM Haidar al-Abadi in order to maintain independence from Iranian proxy militias. Heavy Coalition support for the ISF offensive will be essential in order to both recapture urban terrain from ISIS as well as to demonstrate support for the ISF and for PM Abadi as he faces immense pressure from Iranian proxies to reject Coalition assistance.