Iraq Launches Offensive to Recapture Last Town under ISIS Control

Iraq Launches Offensive to Recapture Last Town under ISIS Control

Syrian opposition activists say Islamic State (IS) militants have regained control of the Syrian town of Boukamal after fierce fighting with Syrian government troops. Since then, the group has lost most of the areas it controlled and continues to shrink in the country.

Al-Baghdadi's whereabouts and the question of whether he is dead or alive have been a continuing source of mystery and confusion.

Syria's army declared victory over the militants on Thursday, after seizing the last substantial town on the border with Iraq.

Two Iraqi infantry divisions and Sunni tribal forces are participating in the offensive to recapture the small town of Rawa and its surrounding areas along the border with Syria, the Joint Operations Command said in a statement.

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The Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Manar television network reported on Wednesday that Syrian army soldiers, backed by pro-government fighters from popular defense groups, had entered Boukamal.

Abu Laila said ISIS fighters control most of Boukamal adding that government claims that al-Baghdadi is in the town is to cover for their losses. It was his first purported audio in almost a year.

Four U.S. officials said Thursday that the U.S. and Russian Federation are nearing an agreement on Syria for how they hope to resolve the Arab country's civil war once Daesh is defeated.

Baghdadi announced the forming of the group's so-called caliphate at Grand al-Nuri Mosque in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul back in 2014.

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