Army forces advancing into last den of Daesh in Iraq: Prime minister

Army forces advancing into last den of Daesh in Iraq: Prime minister

Daesh's self-declared cross-border caliphate effectively collapsed in July, when Iraqi forces captured Mosul, the group's de facto capital in Iraq, in a grueling battle that lasted nine months.

The campaign to liberate the cities of Al-Qaim and Rawa, near the Syrian border, from terrorists was ordered by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is the commander of the republic's armed forces, his chancellery said.

The Iraqi army has announced the beginning of a major offensive against Daesh (ISIS) in Iraq's Anbar province, where the terrorist group retains control of some areas, according to Iran's Press TV news agency. "They all return to the bosom of the fatherland, thanks to the determination and endurance of our hero soldiers", he added.

"The remaining ISIS members have to choose between being killed at the hands of the army or surrendering", Abadi said in a written statement about the military operations in the al-Qaim and Rawa areas.

Iraqi forces have launched an offensive to recapture the last bastion of so-called Islamic State in the country.


The towns are also symbolically important because they made up IS's self-styled, cross-border "Euphrates Province", which was a symbol of the group's intention to eradicate all the region's frontiers and lay to rest the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement.

That stronghold is the main border crossing between Iraq and Syria, the city of Abu Kamal in Syria, and al-Qaim within Iraq.

The terror group has had a poor showing in battles since the loss of Mosul in late May with stunning victories from USA backed forces in Iraq and Syria.

An estimated 50,000 people are still living in al-Qaim and Rawa, according to the United Nations, while 63,500 have fled since January - mostly children, women and older people.

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