Iraqi PM welcomes freeing of last IS-held town

Iraqi PM welcomes freeing of last IS-held town

Iraqi PM welcomes freeing of last IS-held town

Iraqi security forces battling Islamic State (IS) militants freed Friday the city of Rawa near the Iraqi border with Syria, defeating the extremist militants from their last urban stronghold in Iraq, the Iraqi military said.

"The troops and militia units, supported by the worldwide coalition's aircraft, have fully liberated the town of Rawa from the IS group", the Alsumaria TV channel cited him as saying.

USA -led coalition forces supported the operations to retake Rawah and Qaim with intelligence, airstrikes and advisers, coalition spokesman Ryan Dillon said.

Haider al-Abadi says in a statement released on Friday afternoon that Iraqi forces liberated Rawah in record time and are continuing operations to retake control of Iraq's western desert and the border area with Syria.

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The beginning of this operation is parallel to the Syrian army's operation to retake Abu Kamal, a small town along the Euphrates River said to be the Islamic State group's last major outpost in Syria.

Recapturing it means that IS has largely been neutralized in Iraq. Later that year the United States began a campaign of airstrikes against the militants that fueled Iraqi territorial gains, allowing the military to retake Mosul in July this year.

Meanwhile, U.S. -backed Kurdish-led forces are also approaching Boukamal from the eastern side of the Euphrates.

The US-led coalition battling the jihadists said on Thursday that they had lost 95 per cent of the cross-border "caliphate" the size of Britain that they declared in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

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