Thursday, 23 November, 2017

IS Militants Recapture Syrian Town Near Iraqi Border

Remnants of ISIS driven across Euphrates ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may be in Syria's al-Boukamal: Report
Dexter Carr | 12 November, 2017, 02:04

Iraqi forces have launched an offensive to capture Rawa, the last remaining town under Islamic State control, leaving the group's self-proclaimed caliphate on the verge of complete defeat.

A Hezbollah-run media unit had said on Friday that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reported to have been in the town during the Syrian army and its allies' operation to clear it.

The whereabouts of al-Baghdadi are not known and if he is killed or captured it would be another blow for the organization that has lost more than 90 per cent of lands it once controlled in Iraq and Syria where the group declared a caliphate in June 2014.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and Omar Abu Laila, a Europe-based opposition activist, however, denied the report that al-Baghdadi is in Boukamal.

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Iraqi forces seized several villages from the Daesh extremist group on Saturday in an operation to retake the last pocket of militant-held territory in the country, the operation's commander said.

The forces and their allies were still fighting ISIS in desert areas near Albu Kamal, the last town the militant group had held in Syria.

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.

Two infantry divisions and Sunni tribal forces are participating in the offensive to recapture Rawa, a small town on the bank of the Euphrates, and its surrounding areas along the border with Syria.

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