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Roofs and mosque in Ar Rutba

Ar Rutba (Arabic: الرطبة ar-Ruṭba, also Romanized Rutbah) is a city on the high plateau of the Iraqi Desert. With about 30,000 inhabitants, it is the westernmost town of any real size, also described as the most isolated town of any size in Iraq. The town has a hot desert climate. it receives 114.3 mm (4.5 inches) of rain annually, which is considered plenty in this region.

The population is Sunni. The city occupies a strategic location on the Amman–Baghdad road, and the KirkukHaifa oil pipeline. During the Anglo-Iraqi War in 1941, Ar Rutba was the site of a clash between British forces, including the Arab Legion, and Iraqi forces loyal to Rashid Ali al-Gaylani. The town was important as a stopover for flights between India and the Persian Gulf, and as a watering spot at the road. In the 1990–1991 war it was part of an air defence system.

Get in[edit]

  • The highway from Baghdad comes in via Fallujah and Ramadi. West of the city it forks into one highway leading to Jordan and one to Syria.

Get around[edit]


Ar Rutba was the site of a large part of the old Iraqi air defence warning system, housing a number of military personnel there. The warning station was destroyed in the 1990–1991 Gulf War. It was seized by ISIS in 2014. Iraqi administration returned in 2016. Unfortunly, the historic Fort Rutba, site of a major battle of the Anglo-Iraqi War, was destroyed some time in 2015 or '16.

Remnants of ISIS rule are likely still present in the city, as are ruins from the ensuing battles.




Ar Rutba is home to a traditional Iraqi market, but its present state is unclear.


  • Levant Restaurant



Go next[edit]

The border with Jordan is nearby.

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