Sunday, 24 March, 2019

Iraqi Military Takes on IS in 'Last Big Fight'

Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces walk down a street in Raqqa Iraqi Military Takes on IS in 'Last Big Fight'
Bennie Garza | 27 October, 2017, 12:44

As ISIS' territorial control erodes in Iraq and Syria, numerous more than 40,000 foreign fighters who joined the terrorist group have started to head back to the countries from which they came.

The deadliest occurrence was a June 25 strike near Al Mayadin, Syria, in which the coalition destroyed a building held by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), killing 12 civilians.

Most reports were deemed "non-credible" or duplicative, but 16 had merit, the coalition found. In September, the coalition received an additional 302 new reports and is now assessing a total of 519 open reports from 2014 to today. "We take all reports of civilian casualties seriously and assess all reports as thoroughly as possible", says the statement.

The coalition conducted 27,566 strikes between September 2014 and September 2017.

The London-based collective of journalists and researchers has always had civilian death tolls that are wildly divergent from those acknowledged by the coalition, putting the number killed in US-led strikes at 5,637 as of Thursday.

Coalition bombing in Raqqa led to an estimated 80 percent of residential buildings in the city being rendered uninhabitable.

But they are under pressure there from Syrian pro-government forces and a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters who recently took the city of Raqqa.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the multi-flanked attack Thursday, saying the IS jihadists remaining in Al-Qaim and Raqa have just two choices - "death or surrender".

The group also holds parts of the Syrian side of the border but the area under its control is shrinking as the terrorists retreat in the face of two sets of hostile forces - USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is predominantly led by the PKK terror group's Syrian affiliate the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing People's Protection Units (YPG), and Assad regime troops with foreign Shiite militias backed by Iran and Russian Federation.


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