Coalition Forces Retake Last ISIS-Held City In Iraq


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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
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U.S.-backed Iraqi forces captured the last ISIS-occupied town in Iraq Friday, marking the effective end of the terror caliphate’s grasp of urban areas in the country.

Iraqi military units and tribal militias entered the city of Rawa at dawn and managed to gain full control of the town after five hours of fighting, according to defense ministry officials.

Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, confirmed the victory Friday morning, saying that the days of the “phony caliphate” were numbered.

Located in Iraq’s western Anbar Province, Rawa was the last known Iraqi town to be under the control of ISIS fighters. Its capture means that ISIS has been reduced to pockets of resistance in the remote deserts of western Iraq and some areas along the Syrian border.

Haider Al-Abadi, the commander-in-chief of Iraq’s armed forces, congratulated his troops for retaking Rawa and said they would continue to push into Anbar to clear the border areas of ISIS militants.

The “liberation of Rawa district in mere hours reflects the great strength and power of our heroic armed forces and the successful planning for battles,” he said in a statement Friday afternoon.

ISIS first seized vast swaths of northern and western Iraq in 2014, capturing both sparsely populated territory and major urban areas including Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. After two years of setbacks, coalition forces began to swiftly take back much of the ISIS-held territory, culminating with the liberation of Mosul in July this year.

Subsequent assaults on ISIS positions have reduced the group’s presence in Iraq to small patches in rural areas.

ISIS is also on the ropes in Syria, where the caliphate is rapidly disintegrating following the fall of Raqqa, its former capital, to U.S.-backed forces in October.

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Tags : iraq isis
Will Racke