Iraqi forces advance on ISIL-held Rawa in Anbar

Pauline Gross
November 12, 2017

With Iraqi, Syrian and Kurdish forces encroaching upon the Islamic State heartland from all flanks, ISIS is reportedly suffering from a huge shortage of militants willing to fight for the self-declared caliphate, rendering it impossible for the hardline group to turn the tides on the battlefield.

The Euphrates Valley town and nearby villages were bypassed by government troops and allied paramilitaries when they retook the town of al-Qaim on the Syrian border last week.

Several officers told an AFP reporter in Rumana that Iraqi forces had managed to foil at least two Daesh suicide vehicle bomb attacks.

They also managed to seize the areas near the border with Syria, and would continue to clear the vast rural areas in the north of the river, Yarallah said.

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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.

Last week, Iraqi forces recaptured the larger town of al-Qaim, in what Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called "record time", leaving just a few small pockets of land in ISIS hands, including Rawa and surrounding scraps of desert.

The recapture of Rawa would mark the final battleground defeat of the group in Iraq and the demise of the "caliphate" declared by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2014 over large expanses of Iraq and Syria.

With the fall of Daesh's (ISIS) last significant stronghold in Syria, Iranian and Russian-backed Syrian troops now turn to face off with their main rival, the USA -backed forces holding large oil fields and strategic territory in the country's north and east.

Other reports by GizPress

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