Four more Iraqi cities, including a key border crossing, have fallen under the control of ISIS militants.
Consolidating its hold on the country's Sunni areas in the north and west, ISIS now controls 70 percent of Iraq's largest province, Anbar, according to Iraqi security officials. (Via BBC)
The New York Times explains the development is worrisome for Iraqi and Western leaders alike as the loss of Qaim, which is strategically situated on the Syrian border, will likely open the way for fighters and weapons to move freely through Syria into Iraq. Out of three major border crossings between Iraq and Syria, only one remains under the control of the Iraqi government.
But perhaps more troubling is what's now within reach for the Sunni militant group.
USA Today reports ISIS appears to be on a methodical march "toward a key dam in the city of Haditha, the destruction of which would damage the country's electrical grid and cause major flooding." (Via USA Today)
Iraq's military reportedly retreated overnight from Haditha, turning security over to local tribal leaders as part of a "strategic withdrawal" to reinforce areas around the capital Baghdad. However, officials do not believe local militias in Haditha will be able to stand up to ISIS. (Via Fox News)
Much of ISIS' success in western and northern Iraq can be contributed to the aid of local Sunni tribesman.
CNN explains the Anbar province has a largely Sunni population, and "If the Sunni tribes do not decide to help and support Iraqi security forces, it will be very difficult for Iraqi forces to regain full control."
Iraq, of course, has a bloody history of violence between the Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam.
It was reminded of this division Saturday when thousands of armed Shiite militiamen marched through the streets of Baghdad. The rally was touted as a show of force against ISIS as the country sits on the brink of an all-out sectarian conflict. (Via CNN, The Telegraph)
The U.S. has sent 300 military advisers to aid Iraq's security forces. ISIS is now in control of areas less than 60 miles from Baghdad.