wnol.info February 22 2018

Syria army, allies retake last IS-held town

February 22 2018, 04:14 | Irvin Gilbert

ISIS airstrikes down 60 to 70 percent as caliphate crumbles in Iraq and Syria

The offshoot of al Qaeda which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic

The Syrian military and its allies said they've retaken the final town held by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Syria, where the jihadis' leader was rumored to have fled after being ousted by parallel gains against his group in neighboring Iraq.

Islamic State has been all but destroyed over the past two years, remaining only in Albu Kamal in Syria, Rawa in Iraq, in a few neighboring villages and patches of desert, and some isolated pockets elsewhere.

The Syrian army, alongside its Lebanese military ally Hezbollah and other Shia militias, and backed by Iran and Russian Federation, have seized swathes of central and eastern Syria in an advance against Islamic State this year.

American and coalition planes decreased the number of bombs they've dropped on Islamic State (ISIS) targets by 60 percent in October because the terror group is on the run. Hezbollah is fighting alongside government forces.

When ISIS first emerged as a major threat in Iraq and Syria in 2014 the militants were riding around in tanks and gathered in large formations, presenting visible targets for the coalition.

Syrian state television declared "Albu Kamal is liberated".

The two outlets said earlier that Syrian troops had linked up with Iraqi forces across the border.

On Tuesday, Bouthaina Shaaban, a senior adviser to Syrian President Bashar Assad, described the US forces aiding the SDF in Syria as illegal invaders.

The commander added that Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces also took part in the capture of Albu Kamal, located in Syria near the Iraqi border on the Euphrates river.

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