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Syrian army and allies 'take last major Islamic State stronghold in Syria leaving terror group close to total collapse'

Syrian army and allies 'take last major Islamic State stronghold in Syria leaving terror group close to total collapse'The last major town held by Islamic State in Syria was reported to have fallen to government forces on Wednesday night, leaving the terror group near complete collapse.  The offensive to retake Albu Kamal in eastern Syria was launched several days ago after regime troops and allied militias, under the cover of Russian airpower, captured the last Isil-held city of Deir Ezzor. On Wednesday fighters from the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Unit (PMU) crossed the frontier to squeeze the group from the east.  Its commander announced the complete liberation late last night, but there was no immediate confirmation from the Syrian government.  Isil, which once controlled a “caliphate” the size of Britain spanning Iraq and Syria, has lost more than 95 per cent of its territory.  Isil map They are now confined to a small pocket of desert inside Syria along the border, where they are putting up a final stand.  Omar Abu Layla, director of Deir Ezzor 24 news agency, told the Telegraph he believed the jihadists now numbered in the low thousands and many of them were foreign.  “Isil was preserving the foreign fighters for the biggest battle at the end,” he said. “They are fighting for their life in the desert, they won’t give up easily like they did in Deir Ezzor.” Displaced Syrians collect water from a tank at a camp housing people who fled the fighting in Deir Ezzor, Mayadeen and Albu Kamal, on October 14, 2017, in the town of Arisha in the neighbouring province of Hasakeh Credit: AFP The Syrian government has sworn to recapture the whole of Syria, including Islamic State’s former capital Raqqa and oil and gas fields lying east of the Euphrates which is currently being held by Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.  On Tuesday, Bouthaina Shaaban, a senior adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, described the US forces aiding the SDF in Syria as illegal invaders. Washington has not spelled out how its military support for the SDF would evolve after Islamic State’s defeat.




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