Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi gave instructions to his country's armed forces on Tuesday to deal with any terrorist attack, even if it arises from within Syria, Anadolu has reported. Iraqi mobilization units also reportedly took part in the operation, local media reports.
The Iraq Report is a weekly feature at The New Arab.
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Al-Manar TV, the media arm of the Lebanese Hezbollah group, said Wednesday that troops have surrounded the eastern town of Boukamal, on the border with Iraq.
Amid lightning gains that saw the group control almost half of Iraq and Syria at its height in 2014, Baghdadi beckoned Muslims from around the world to join his militant cause during a speech from the Grand Al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, his first and only known public appearance as ISIS chief.
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Croft revealed that aircraft has yet to be moved out of Iraq and Syria.
Al-Bukamal is very important for IS due to its proximity to IS-held areas on the Iraqi side of the border, which have recently been stormed by the Iraqi army and allied troops.
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"That's indicative of the fact that ISIS is collapsing, not only as a physical caliphate but also in ownership of land", Croft explained, adding: "They only now control about 4 or 5 percent of the original area they covered, so the number of targets has dropped dramatically in the last month". Both the Syrian and Iraqi militaries, along with their allied militias and respective worldwide sponsors, have largely defeated ISIS, but parts of Syria remain under rebel and Kurdish control.