Iraq PM announces re-capture of al-Qaim from IS

Last month the Iraqi army began a wide-ranging campaign aimed at liberating the cities of Rawa and Al Qaim

Last month the Iraqi army began a wide-ranging campaign aimed at liberating the cities of Rawa and Al Qaim

The US-led coalition congratulated the Iraqi government and the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in a statement.

Welcoming the offensive, the USA -led global 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.

After overrunning vast territories in northern and western Iraq in 2014, ISIS has recently suffered a string of major defeats.

Yesterday, Syrian state media announced that the army, backed by Russian firepower, had recaptured all of Deir Ezzor city, in the oil-rich east of the country.

"We do expect them now to try to flee, but we are cognisant of that and will do all we can to annihilate IS leaders", coalition spokesman Ryan Dillon said, using an alternative acronym for ISIS.

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

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The terrorist group had for years besieged a government enclave in Deir al-Zor until an army advance relieved it in early September, starting a battle for jihadist-held parts of the city.

The Al-Qaim border crossing stands roughly two kilometers west of the Iraqi city of Al-Qaim, which Iraqi forces reportedly captured on Friday.

ISIS is also under pressure from separate offensives by Syrian regime and US-backed forces in the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor that lies on the other side of the border.

Iraqi forces had surrounded the last of the ISIS fighters in nearby towns Rawa and Romana, as well as surrounding areas north of the Euphrates River on Qaim's outskirts, Rasoul said.

The 53-page report, produced by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, could be used for war crimes prosecutions.

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