ISIS is closing on a group of U.S. Marines at Al Asad Airbase in Iraq. During the Iraq war, the facility was the largest U.S. Army base.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Area Around the Base Is 90% Controlled by ISIS
Reuters reports that that large group of Islamic State insurgents took control of the town of al-Baghdadi on February 12. The group are believed to have attacked the town from two directions. District manager Naji Arak told the agency that “90 percent” of his town has fallen.
2. There Hasn’t Been a Direct Attack on the Base Today
A Pentagon spokesperson said that there hasn’t been a direct attack on the base but there are reports of skirmishes in the vicinity of the facility.
3. There Are 320 Marines Living on the Base
Around 320 U.S. Marines are stationed at the base. They are training members of Iraq’s 7th Division. Iraqi News reported in November that 180 “advisors” had arrived at the base.
4. The Base Is Under Constant Attack
The base is frequent target for insurgents. In December 2014, a mortar was fired in Al Asad. The BBC reported in December 2014, that “as many as 15 villages surrounding the base fell to the militants.”
5. The Attack Comes on Another Bloody Day in Iraq
This attack comes on the same day that five people were killed by two separate car bombs just south of Baghdad.