Syria: IS militants defeated in final stronghold

Frederick Owens
November 20, 2017

The Syrian army and its allies have entered a final phase of the operation to retake outskirts of the Syrian city of Abu Kamal (some 140 km from Deir ez-Zor) from the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia), Syrian SANA news agency said on Saturday.

At dawn, military units and local tribal fighters pushed into the western neighborhoods of Rawah in western Anbar province, and after just five hours of fighting they retook the town, according to Brig.

Rawah, 175 miles (275 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, lies along the Euphrates River Valley near the border town of Qaim that Iraqi forces retook from IS earlier this month.

This month, the Syrian army captured the capital city of Deir al-Zour.

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Daesh has recently suffered a string of crushing defeats in both Iraq and Syria after overrunning vast swathes of territory in both countries in mid-2014.

With the town retaken, IS fighters remain holed up in only a few villages and patches of desert in Syria, losing large swaths of its so-called caliphate in the past year to the Syrian Army and US -backed Kurdish and Arab forces.

On Nov. 9, Syria's military command declared it had liberated Boukamal, after the militants pulled out.

The counter-offensive of IS prompted the Syrian army to launch another offensive to take back the city with the help of Iranian-backed fighters and Russian aerial bombing. Iraqi and American officials say IS militants are expected to continue carrying out insurgent-style attacks in Syria, Iraq and beyond.

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