Iraqi Forces Enter al-Qaim in 'Last Big Fight' against ISIS

Iraqi Forces Enter al-Qaim in 'Last Big Fight' against ISIS

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

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.

Earlier in the day, Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Yarallah, Commander of Liberation of West Anbar Operations, said in a statement that the Iraqi army, Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) forces, paramilitary brigades of Hashd Shaabi and Sunni tribal fighters broke into the areas of Se'da, Karabla and Husaibah, which are part of the city of al-Qaim.

The commander added that Iraqi forces have also established control over the nearby Al-Qaim border crossing.

The Syrian army announced Friday that it has liberated the long-contested eastern city of Deir el-Zour from the Islamic State group, a largely symbolic victory in the military's fight to capture remaining IS strongholds in the oil-rich province along the border with Iraq.

The army, backed by Russian bombers, Iranian and Shi'ite militias, is advancing towards the last significant town held by ISIS in Syria, Albu Kamal, which is also located on the western bank of the Euphrates.

The troops are now in a race against the US -backed fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militia, for control of the remaining areas in the hands of Islamic State.

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.

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

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