Iraqi forces at­tack is­lamic state in syria

The Sunday Guardian - - World - REUTERS

Iraqi armed forces on Saturday dis­lodged Is­lamic State from a nat­u­ral gas-rich bor­der area with Syria, ac­cord­ing to the mil­i­tary. Ira­nian-backed forces fight­ing with Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad’s army si­mul­ta­ne­ously an­nounced the start of an of­fen­sive to reach the same bor­der area from the op­po­site side. An Iraqi mil­i­tary state­ment said Akashat, a desert re­gion lo­cated south of the Euphrates river, was cap­tured in an of­fen­sive which had been an­nounced ear­lier in the day. The at­tack on Akashat is meant to pave the way for the re­cap­ture of ur­ban cen­ters in the Euphrates val­ley, in­clud­ing the bor­der post of al-Qaim, it said. Ira­nian-backed Shi‘ite para­mil­i­tary forces known as Pop­u­lar Mo­bi­liza­tion and Sunni tribal fight­ers known as Tribal Mo­bi­liza­tion took part in the of­fen­sive, it added. The Iraqi air force dropped thou­sands of leaflets overnight on Akashat as well as on al-Qaim and the towns of Ana and Rawa, along­side the Euphrates, telling the mil­i­tants to sur­ren­der or face death, the state­ment said. Two dif­fer­ent cam­paigns are also ad­vanc­ing on Is­lamic State po­si­tions 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 known as Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces (SDF). An al­liance of Shi‘ite mili­tias fight­ing with the Syr­ian army said it launched an as­sault to reach al-Buka­mal, the Syr­ian bor­der town on the Euphrates, fac­ing alQaim.

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