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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Iraq launches offensive to recapture last town under ISIL control

The capture of the town would mark the end of ISIL's era of territorial rule over a so-called caliphate that it proclaimed in 2014 across vast swathes of Iraq and Syria

Iraqi pro-government forces advance towards the town of Rawa during their offensive against ISIL militants on October 28, 2017. Moadh Al Dulaimi / AFP
Iraqi pro-government forces advance towards the town of Rawa during their offensive against ISIL militants on October 28, 2017. Moadh Al Dulaimi / AFP

Iraqi forces launched an offensive on Saturday to capture Rawa, the last remaining town in the country under ISIL control.

The capture of the town would mark the end of ISIL's era of territorial rule over a so-called caliphate that it proclaimed in 2014 across vast swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Syria's army declared victory over the militants on Thursday, after seizing the last substantial town on the border with Iraq.

However, the army and its allies were still fighting ISIL in desert areas near Albu Kamal, the last town the militant group had held in Syria.

Two Iraqi infantry divisions and Sunni tribal forces are participating in the offensive to recapture the small town of Rawa and its surrounding areas along the border with Syria, the Joint Operations Command said.

Last week, Iraqi forces recaptured the larger town of Al Qaim, in what prime minister Haider Al Abadi called "record time", leaving just a few small pockets of land in ISIL's hands.

Iraq has been carrying out its final campaign to crush ISIL while also mounting a military offensive in the north against the Kurds who held an independence referendum in September.

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Read more:

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