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Iraqi Army Drives ISIS Out from Border Areas

17 Septembre 2017

Iraqi forces have announced in a military statement that they had completed the expulsion of ISIS from the town of Akashat, a border area with Syria south of the Euphrates River, west of Anbar.

Imed Meshaal, mayor of Rutba, a desert town further south recaptured from ISIL previous year, said the militants had turned the area into a major hub for arms caches, training camps and command centres.

Akashat is a small town west of Anbar province located south of the IS-held, strategic towns of Qaim, Rawa and Ana.

Iranian-backed Shia paramilitary forces, known as Popular Mobilization and Sunni tribal fighters known as Tribal Mobilization took part in the attack, it added.

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Two different alliances are also advancing on Islamic State position on the Syrian side of the border there - Syrian government forces supported by Russian air strikes and Iran-backed militias, and a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters.

"The army, the Hashed Al Shaabi and the border guard launched a major operation to liberate Akashat and secure the border to its north", said General Abdelamir Yarallah, head of the Joint Operations Command for the campaign against ISIL.

Securing a land corridor across Iraq could make it easier for Iran to ferry heavy weapons to Syria should Baghdad approve such transfers.

In July, Iraq retook control of Mosul, Islamic State's key stronghold in the north, after a campaign of almost nine months. The group overran about a third of Iraq in 2014 in a sweeping offensive that allowed the militants to grab hundreds of millions of dollars worth of weaponry and vehicles left by the fleeing Iraqi forces.

Iraqi Army Drives ISIS Out from Border Areas