Iraq Launches Offensive to Recapture Last Town under ISIS Control

Nov 12, 2017, 02:03
Iraq Launches Offensive to Recapture Last Town under ISIS Control

A media outlet linked to the Syrian military says the Islamic State group's leader may be holed up in an IS pocket in the eastern town of Boukamal, which government forces and their allies recaptured this week. The US-led coalition against IS said on Friday it had no "releasable information" on Baghdadi's whereabouts.

The Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Manar television network reported on Wednesday that Syrian army soldiers, backed by pro-government fighters from popular defense groups, had entered Boukamal.

The recapture of the Rawa pocket would mark the final battleground defeat of Daesh in Iraq and sound the death knell of the sprawling "caliphate" the group declared in 2014 over a swathe of Iraq and Syria the size of Britain.

On Thursday, the Syrian Army liberated the city of Abu Kamal, near the border with Iraq, destroying the last IS stronghold in Syria.

Syrian regime forces and allied militia overran Albu Kamal, which lies on the border with Iraq, on Thursday but have since faced a string of IS counter-attacks.

On Saturday, Abdel Rahman said Albu Kamal was being pummelled by air strikes, but he could not specify whether they were Iraqi or Russian raids.

Across the border, Iraqi forces on Saturday seized several villages from the militants in an offensive to capture the last IS-held section of their country.

But on Saturday, troops backed by militia recruited among the region's Sunni Arab tribes "launched a major offensive to liberate Rumana and the Rawa area", General Abdelamir Yarallah said.

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