Falih Essawi shouted on the phone as he described his situation. From his point of view, ISIS militants might be just hours away from taking the key Iraqi city of Ramadi.
Fierce fighting has engulfed Ramadi, which lies only about 70 miles (113 kilometers) west of Baghdad and is the capital of Anbar province, Iraq’s Sunni heartland.
Essawi, the deputy head of the Anbar Provincial Council, told CNN from inside the city Wednesday that it’s unclear how much longer government troops can hold their front lines against the ISIS offensive.
The politician said he was on a front line himself, armed with a machine gun. Security was “collapsing rapidly in the city,” and he begged the Iraqi government for reinforcements and the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS for air support.
“This is what we warned Baghdad of what’s going to happen,” Essawi told CNN by phone, referring to the Iraqi government at the capital. “Where is Baghdad? Where is al-Abadi?”
His plea for help comes the day after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington to seek more support for the fight against ISIS.