Final Countdown: Iraqi Army Advances on Daesh's Last Strongholds

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Final Countdown: Iraqi Army Advances on Daesh's Last Strongholds

Iraqi forces backed by Sunni tribal volunteers on Thursday recaptured the Jabbab district in Iraq's western Anbar province from the Daesh terrorist group.

The Iraqi air force has dropped thousands of pamphlets urging ISIS members in the border region to surrender.

The main border crossing between Iraq and Syria, the city of Abu Kamal on the Syrian side and al-Qaim on the Iraqi side, is the last major territorial possession of ISIS, and the next big target for both Syria and Iraq's militaries.

Since Coalition operations to free the people of Syria and Iraq from ISIS control began in 2014, Coalition partners have returned more than 95% of ISIS-held land to local populations and governance.

The militant group also holds parts of the Syrian side of the border, but the area under their control is shrinking as they retreat in the face of two sets of hostile forces - a USA -backed, Kurdish-led coalition and Syrian government troops with foreign Shi'ite militias backed by Iran and Russian Federation.

In Syria, Daesh has been driven back into a strip of territory along the Euphrates River by separate offensives waged by the Syrian government and its allies on the one hand, and by Syrian militias backed by the US-led coalition on the other.

This was "a launch pad for the army and its allies to advance towards the town of Albu Kamal. which is considered the last remaining stronghold of the Daesh organisation in Syria", it said.

Meanwhile, the troops managed to make a significant progress toward the IS-held city of Rawa, about 80 km east of al-Qaim, and took new positions outside the southern edges of the city, a security source from Anbar province told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

He pointed out that "Daesh gunmen were trying to block the progress of Iraqi forces towards the center of Al-Qaim".

Syrian government forces and their allies have made rapid gains against Islamic State in Deir al-Zor in recent weeks.

There are about 1,500 IS fighters remaining in the area surrounding Al-Qaim, according to the US military.

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