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Iraq Announces Military Defeat of ISIS

Iraq Announces Military Defeat of ISIS

Saturday, 18 November, 2017 - 07:15
Iraqi forces vehicles are seen after they captured Rawa, the last remaining town under ISIS control, Iraq November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

Iraqi government forces announced on Friday that they retook the last town in the country still held by ISIS along the border with Syria, where the extremists have come under attack in one of their last strongholds.

The terrorist group’s losses include all of its major bastions, virtually confining it to pockets of countryside, Agence France Presse said.

According to experts, after their loss of Rawa, the extremists no longer exercised any real military or administrative power.

Joint Operations Command (JOC) spokesman General Yahya Rassoul said that "militarily, ISIS has been defeated, but we are going to hunt down its remnants to eradicate its presence."

Rawa was earlier bypassed in an offensive by the Iraqi army that resulted in the recapture of the strategically important border town of Al-Qaim this month.

Syrian regime forces are battling to capture the border town of Albu Kamal, after ISIS launched a surprise counter attack last week and snatched back its final urban holdout.  

Beyond the town, ISIS controls some two dozen desert villages along the Euphrates river in the surrounding oil-rich Deir Ezzor province that once provided a major source of the group's illicit income.

"The days of the fake caliphate are now numbered," the US envoy to the coalition Brett McGurk tweeted on Friday.

A day earlier, he said that since the formation of the US-led coalition fighting ISIS in 2014, the terrorist group “has lost 95 percent of the territory it once controlled in Iraq and Syria. More than 7.5 million people have now been liberated” from the organization.

Since then, “2.6 million displaced Iraqis have returned to their homes, and ISIS has not recaptured a single meter of the territory it has lost,” McGurk told a press conference in Jordan.

He said the Coalition is working with partners to establish a network of messaging centers and initiatives that expose, refute, and combat terrorist propaganda.

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