A member of the Iraqi security forces holds an Iraqi flag at a government complex in the city of Ramadi on Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
After days of fighting in the streets, Iraqi security forces captured on Monday the main government compound in Ramadi, the capital city in Anbar province. Home to about 200,000 people, Ramadi had been controlled by Islamic State militants since May, and the site of fierce fighting the Islamisst fighters and Iraqi troops for months before.
Iraqi soldiers stormed the center of Ramadi last week, backed by airstrikes from the U.S.-led military coalition. The success marks the first major victory for Iraq’s military over the militants, although some fighting is expected to continue in the days to come.
Photographs from the war zone underscore how dramatically altered Ramadi is, however. Damage is significant, with buildings leveled, glass shattered and roads cratered by both bombshells and improvised explosive devices. What follows are scenes from the battlefield taken over the last week:
In this Friday, Dec. 25, 2015 photo, smoke rises from Islamic State positions following a U.S.-led coalition airstrike as Iraqi ssecurity forces advance their position in downtown Ramadi. (AP Photo) This image posted online Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, by supporters of the Islamic State militant group on an anonymous photo sharing website, shows heavy damage in Ramadi, Iraq, a day before Iraqi forces backed by U.S.-led airstrikes, re-took the government complex in the center of the city. (Islamic State collected and distributed by the Associated Press) Smoke rises over destroyed Islamic State positions following a U.S.-led coalition airstrike, as Iraqi security forces enter the heavily damaged downtown Ramadi, about west of Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday, Dec. 27. (AP Photo) Iraqi security forces place the Iraqi flag above the Islamic State group flag as they pose for a picture on Monday, Dec. 28, in front of the Anbar police headquarters they recaptured. Iraq declared the city of Ramadi liberated from the Islamic State group and raised the national flag over its government complex. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYEAHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images Tanks are seen in the city of Ramadi, December 28, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer Members of Iraq’s elite counter-terrorism force celebrate on Monday, Dec. 28, at the heavily damaged government complex in Ramadi after they recaptured it from the Islamic State group. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYEAHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images) Members of Iraq’s elite counter-terrorism service search a heavily damaged building on Dec. 27, 2015 in the Hoz neighborhood in central Ramadi, Iraq. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYEAHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images) Smoke billows as Iraqi counter-terrorism forces advance south of the Anbar province’s capital Ramadi on Dec. 25, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / STRSTR/AFP/Getty Images) Iraqi security forces clash with Islamic State group militias as they advance their position, supported by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, in downtown Ramadi, on Friday, Dec. 25. (AP Photo) Iraqi security forces enter heavy damaged downtown Ramadi on Sunday, Dec. 27. (AP Photo/Rwa Faisal)