Iraqi forces seize strategic border crossing with Syria

Katrina Barker
November 4, 2017

The ministry said the strikes had helped to support attack raids by Syrian troops, the RIA news agency reported.

Welcoming the offensive, the US -led worldwide military coalition, which has run an air campaign against the Islamic State group in both Syria and Iraq since 2014, said in a statement that approximately 1,500 Islamic State fighters were estimated to remain in the immediate vicinity of al-Qaim.

Last month, the Iraqi army began a wide-ranging campaign aimed at liberating the cities of Rawa and Al-Qaim, the terrorist group's final redoubts in Anbar.

ISIS was pushed from Qaim on Friday, the terror group's last major stronghold in Iraq, according to the office of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

And the Syrian Defense Forces, a Kurdish and Arab alliance, wants to seize as much territory as possible, including oil fields, to increase its chances of staving off a government takeover of the areas it holds, including Raqqa and the areas to the northeast where Kurds have carved out a measure of autonomy.

Syrian government forces and their pro-government allies first broke the militant group's siege of their part of the city in September in a Russian-backed offensive, and have been advancing against IS positions since then.

The army captured al-Hamidiya, Sheikh Yassin, al-Ardhi and al-Rashidia districts in recent attacks and the al-Hawiqa district was the last to be held by the jihadists, a military media unit run by the army's ally Hezbollah reported.

He estimated there were 1,500-2,500 fighters left in al-Qaim and 2,000-3,000 in Albu Kamal.

ISIS fighters executed at least 741 Iraqi civilians in Mosul, including women and children who had tried to flee, during the nine-month battle by government forces to retake the northern Iraq city, the United Nations said on Thursday.

Later, the troops will continue to clear the vast rural areas and desert in north of the Euphrates River.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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