Battle of Ar-Rutbah (2016)

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Ar-Rutbah offensive (May 2016)
Part of the Iraqi Civil War (2014–2017), the
American-led intervention in Iraq (2014–present),
and the Anbar campaign (2015–16)
USMC-090101-M-0493G-066 (cropped).jpg
Ar-Rutbah in 2009.
Date16–18 May 2016
(2 days)

Iraqi government victory[1]

  • Iraqi Army recapture Ar-Rutbah District/Town

Iraq Iraq

Air support
 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Commanders and leaders
Iraq Haider al-Abadi Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Leader)
1,000+ fighters[1] 100–400 militants[2]
Casualties and losses
4 killed,
5 wounded[3]
100+ killed[4]

The Battle of Ar-Rutbah (2016) was a military offensive in Iraq launched by the Iraqi Army to recapture the strategic town of Ar-Rutbah from ISIL, along with the rest of the Ar-Rutba District.


On March 13, a senior Iraqi general reported that ISIL has fully withdrawn from the city of Ar-Rutbah to Al-Qa'im, after they began leaving the night before. The withdrawal was confirmed by a member of Anbar's security council. It was also reported that ISIL had abandoned the town of Kabisa as well, and they had also withdrawn from Hīt to some degree, with Iraqi warplanes bombing the retreating militants. This was the first time that ISIL has withdrawn from a major urban area without an actual fight, and the retreat came after recent losses on the battlefield for ISIL in Syria and in the Anbar Province, including a recent offensive on Hīt.[5][6][7] However, ISIL returned to the town on the following day.[8]

The offensive[edit]

On May 16, the Iraqi Army launched an offensive to recapture the town of Ar-Rutbah, and the rest of the Ar-Rutba District.[2] The Iraqi Army attacked the town from three directions.[9] A US official stated that Ar-Rutbah wasn't as well defended by ISIL as Ramadi or Fallujah, and that there were 100 to several hundred ISIL militants based in the town.[2] On May 17, the commander of Anbar Operations, Major General Hadi Rseg announced that Iraqi Army fully recaptured Ar-Rutbah, and the surrounding areas in the Ar-Rutbah District.[10] During the clashes, at least 4 Iraqi soldiers were killed and 5 more were wounded,[3] and around 100 ISIL fighters were killed.[4] The town is of strategic value as it sits on key transit routes between Iraq and Jordan. Its recapture has denied the ISIL of a "critical support zone".[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Adnan, Ghassan; Fitch, Asa (May 19, 2016). "Iraqi Forces Recapture Strategic Town From Islamic State" – via Wall Street Journal.
  2. ^ a b c "Iraq launches operation to retake Anbar town". The National. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Mamoun, Abdelhak. "9 security members killed, wounded in battles of Rutba District". Iraqi News. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Baghdad Takes Rutba From Islamic State; Jordan-Iraq Commercial Route to Reopen (Video): Juan Cole". May 19, 2016.
  5. ^ "ISIS pulls out of town in Iraq's Anbar: general". The Daily Star Newspaper - Lebanon. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  6. ^ "IS jihadists pull out of several Iraq towns: officers". Yahoo News. March 13, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  7. ^ "Anbar officials see voluntary ISIS withdrawal from some towns". Rudaw. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  8. ^ "ISIS returns to Iraqi town, 24 hours after vacating it". Deccan Chronicle.
  9. ^ Mamoun, Abdelhak. "Security forces start liberation operation of Rutba District from 3 axes Ar-Rutbah Offensive (2016)". Iraqi News. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  10. ^ Amre Sarhan (May 18, 2016). "Security forces fully liberate al-Rutba District, announces Anbar Operations". Iraqi News. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  11. ^ Morris, Loveday; Salim, Mustafa. "Iraqi forces retake Rutbah from ISIS and eye Fallujah for next battle". Washington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2016.