Iraqi Forces About to Launch Final Offensive Against ISIS Near Syria Border

'Your security forces are now coming to liberate you,' said leaflets dropped by the Iraqi air force on the western border region of al-Qaim and Rawa

Reuters
Reuters
File photo: Federal Iraqi security forces Erbil, Iraq, October 19. 2017.
File photo: Federal Iraqi security forces Erbil, Iraq, October 19. 2017. Credit: Khalid Mohammed/AP
Reuters
Reuters

Iraqi forces are about to launch an offensive to recapture the last patch of Iraq's territory still in the hands of the Islamic State militant group, a military statement said on Wednesday.

"Your security forces are now coming to liberate you," said leaflets dropped by the Iraqi air force on the western border region of al-Qaim and Rawa, according to a statement from the Joint Operations Command in Baghdad.

The militant group also holds parts of the Syrian side of the border, but the area under their control is shrinking as they retreat in the face of two sets of hostile forces - a U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led coalition and Syrian government troops with foreign Shi'ite militias backed by Iran and Russia.

Islamic State's self-declared cross-border caliphate effectively collapsed in July, when U.S.-backed Iraqi forces captured Mosul, the group's de facto capital in Iraq, in a gruelling battle which lasted nine months.

The militants' Syrian stronghold, Raqqa, fell to U.S.-backed forces last week.

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who declared the caliphate from Mosul in mid-2014, released an audio recording on Sept. 28 that indicated he was alive, after several reports he had been killed. He urged his followers to keep up the fight despite setbacks.

"God is with us in this last assault on Daesh members," said the leaflets dropped by the Iraqi forces on the border area with Syria, referring to Islamic State.

"Tell those among your children and relatives who took up a weapon against the state to throw it aside immediately, and to go to any house on top of which a white flag have been raised when the liberation forces enter al-Qaim."

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

נתניהו עם כיפה שחורה על הראש נשען בשתי ידיו על הכותל

Israel Is Heading for Its Most 'Jewish' Election Ever

An El Al jet sits on the tarmac at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Thursday, in 2003.

El Al to Stop Flying to Toronto, Warsaw and Brussels

FILE PHOTO: A Star of David hangs from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 2021.

American Judaism Is in Decline. That's Great News for American Jews

Crowds at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, in April.

U.S. Official: West Bank Entry for Palestinian Americans Unrelated to Israeli Visa Waivers

Haaretz spoke with several people who said they had fled Ukraine, arrived in Israel,  and were asked to undergo DNA tests in order to establish paternity.

'My Jewish Grandmother Has a Number on Her Arm, Why Does Israel Greet Me This Way?'

People taking part in the annual "March of the Living" to commemorate the Holocaust, between the former death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, four years ago.

It’s Not Just the Holocaust. Israel Is Failing to Teach the History of the Jews