ISIS on verge of defeat in face of Syrian, Iraqi assault

Last month the Iraqi army began a wide-ranging campaign aimed at liberating the cities of Rawa and Al Qaim

Last month, USA -backed militias declared victory in Raqqa, Islamic State's former headquarters in Syria, after months of fighting for the city with the help of the US -led coalition.

Located in Iraq's western Anbar province (roughly 410 kilometers west of provincial capital Ramadi), the Al-Qaim crossing links the Iraqi city of Husaybah to the town of Abu Kamal in Syria's Deir ez-Zour province.

The US-led coalition supporting Iraqi forces with air strikes had predicted that the battle for Al-Qaim would be the "last big fight" of the punishing military campaign to dismantle their brutal experiment in statehood.

Home to around 150,000 people, it is the last Iraqi remnant of ISIS.

"ISIS members have to choose between death and surrender", Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement announcing the offensive last week.

A senior Iranian official said on Friday that Syrian government forces would advance soon to take Raqqa city, which USA -backed fighters seized from Islamic State last month.

But both the Iraqi and Syrian governments and their global backers say they worry that the fighters will still be able to mount guerrilla attacks once they no longer have territory to defend. Syrian forces entered Deir Ezzor city in September, breaking an ISIS siege of almost three years.

Driven this year from its two de facto capitals - Iraq's Mosul and Syria's Raqqa - both the Iraqi and Syrian governments and their worldwide backers say they worry that ISIS will still be able to mount guerilla attacks once they no longer have territory to defend.

Iraqi forces have taken Al-Qaim, one of the last remaining IS stronghold in the country.

The 53-page report, produced by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, could be used for war crimes prosecutions.

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