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Anti-IS forces retake last jihadist bastion

Friday, November 10, 2017

Beirut: Syrian troops and allied militiamen yesterday expelled Islamic State group fighters from Albu Kamal, the last significant town the jihadists still held in their disintegrating "caliphate".

The jihadists' latest rout left them with only the dregs of a self-styled "state" that once spanned huge territory in Iraq and Syria, with surviving IS fighters melting away into desert hideouts.

Anti-IS forces stormed into the town just across the border from Iraq yesterday and while fighting was initially reported as fierce, the outcome of one of IS's last major battles was never in doubt.

"Our armed forces units, in cooperation with allied and auxiliary forces, have liberated the town of Albu Kamal in Deir Ezzor province," a statement carried by the official SANA news agency said.

"Albu Kamal's liberation is very important because it means the failure of the IS terrorist group in the region," the army statement said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the war, said much of the fighting had been done by allied militias rather than the regular army. The capture of Albu Kamal was be the last in a string of setbacks that saw IS lose its urban bastions of Mosul and Raqa within a few weeks and its embryonic state shrink to a rump.

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