Surprising no one, the Iraqi army was again routed by ISIS fighters and had to retreat handing the base over to the Islamic State.

BAGHDAD — Islamic State fighters seized control of another Iraqi army base Monday — the third to fall in three weeks — to give the militants a further key foothold in the western approach to Baghdad.

Iraq officials described the pullback from Hit as a “tactical retreat” and claimed it hauled away all equipment and burned food supplies to deny the Islamic State more provisions and firepower.

But the Islamic State’s gain in the Anbar Province — this time 85 miles west of Baghdad — was a major blow to security forces struggling to hold territory despite U.S.-led airstrikes. Sunni-dominated Anbar has become a critical battleground in attempts to keep the Islamic State offensive from reaching Iraq’s capital.

Sporadic clashes have already reached some of the outlying areas west of Baghdad. […]

The string of defeats in Anbar have exposed the limitations of the U.S. and coalition airstrikes in combating Islamic State with Iraqi ground forces in disarray.

U.S. Central Command said coalition strikes an Islamic State armed vehicle and an armored personnel carrier in the vicinity of Hit on Sunday, but the militants still managed to launch an offensive on the army base, soldiers said. By 3 a.m., the approximately 400 troops received orders to retreat.