Iraqi forces enter al-Qaim, last ISIS bastion in Iraq

Randolph Lopez
November 4, 2017

Backed by Iraqi and US-led coalition air strikes, Iraqi forces unleashed early Friday morning a barrage of artillery fire against militant positions inside the town.

"The Syrian Arab Army restored security and stability to the entire city of Deir Ezzor after eliminating Daesh's last stronghold in it", the state media said, using the Arabic name for ISIS.

As troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad took back Dair Alzour on Friday, Iraqi government forces and allied Shiite Muslim militias were battling Islamic State fighters in the far west of their country, pushing into the town of Qaim and seizing a key border crossing under the control of the militants.

Assad's forces and their allies punched their way into the city in September, breaking a almost three-year siege on the handful of neighborhoods that had remained under government control since the militants swept across large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014.

The notorious terrorist group has recently suffered a string of crushing defeats in both Iraq and Syria after overrunning vast swathes of territory in both countries in 2014.

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He estimated that there were 1,500 to 2,500 fighters left in Al-Qaim and 2,000 to 3,000 in Al-Bukamal.

Troops from the army and the elite Counter Terrorism Service "have started the assault on the center of Al-Qaim", Staff Major General Noman Abed al-Zobai, the commander of the 7th Division, told AFP from the scene.

ISIS is also under pressure from separate offensives by Syrian regime and US-backed forces in the neighboring Syrian province of Deir Ezzor.

"Several terrorists were killed and a number of booby-trapped vehicles destroyed during the operation", he said, adding that most remaining ISIS militants had since fled the area towards Al-Qaim.

The 53-page report, produced by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, could be used for war crimes prosecutions.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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