ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi troops on Saturday launched an assault to control Rawa, the last remaining stronghold of the Islamic State (IS), which aims to put an end to the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate in the country.
Two Iraqi infantry divisions and Sunni tribal forces are participating in the operation to recapture the small town of Rawa and its surrounding areas along the border with Syria in Anbar province, according to the Joint Operation Command statement.
Last week, Iraqi forces controlled the larger town of al-Qaim in what the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi labeled “record time,” leaving a few small pockets in the hands of the IS.
The military operation has been carrying out its final campaign by Iraqi forces to crush the IS caliphate while the troops are also mounting a military assault in the north against the Kurds who held an independence referendum on Sep. 25.
IS emerged in the mid-2014 and shortly after occupied large swaths of territory in the northern Iraq. Since then, the group has lost most of the areas it controlled and continues to shrink in the country.
On Thursday, the Syrian army and its allies declared victory over the IS after seizing the strategic town of Albu Kamal on the border with Iraq. However, in a surprise attack on Friday, the jihadist group recaptured half of the town. The organization’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reported to be seen in the area.
Editing by Sam A.