Sinan Salaheddin of the AP reports:
Islamic State extremists unleashed a wave of suicide attacks targeting the Iraqi army in western Anbar province, killing at least 17 troops in a major blow to government efforts to dislodge the militants from the sprawling Sunni heartland, an Iraqi military spokesman said Wednesday.
With the attacks coming:
… just hours after the Iraqi government on Tuesday announced the start of a wide-scale operation to recapture areas under the control of the IS group in Anbar.
The Iraqi government and armed forces are under even more pressure to deliver or to confirm what many in Washington, including the Secretary of Defense, are saying about their will and their fighting ability.
Fault lines in what should be an anti-ISIS alliance are also evident in Syria where:
Syria's foreign minister said Wednesday that his government is not pinning any hopes on the U.S.-led coalition striking at Islamic State group militants in his country … At a press conference in Damascus, Walid al-Moallem said the coalition was active in preventing the Kurdish town of Kobani from falling into IS hands last year but that this support seems to have "evaporated" after that. The United States did nothing to prevent the ancient town of Palmyra in Syria or the province of Anbar in Iraq from falling into IS hands, he said.
"We're not pinning any hopes on that alliance and anyone who does is living an illusion," al-Moallem added.