Iraqi forces battle Islamic State militants alongside Syrian border


By Sarah El Deeb and Qbadim Abdul-Zahra

Published three:30 pm, Saturday, November four, 2017

  • Damaged buildings in the eastern Syrian city of Deir el-Zour show the intensity of recent fighting to oust Islamic State militants from their former stronghold. Photo: STRINGER, AFP/Getty Images



Photo: STRINGER, AFP/Getty Images

Damaged buildings within the jap Syrian metropolis of Deir el-Zour present the depth of latest preventing to oust Islamic State militants from their former stronghold.

Damaged buildings within the jap Syrian metropolis of Deir el-Zour present the depth of latest preventing to oust Islamic State militants from their former stronghold.


Photo: STRINGER, AFP/Getty Images

Iraqi forces battle Islamic State militants alongside Syrian border


BEIRUT — Clashes have erupted on the Syrian-Iraqi border between Islamic State group militants and Iraqi paramilitary fighters because the extremist group defends its final stronghold within the area, a Syria monitoring group and an Iraqi official mentioned Saturday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights mentioned the clashes began late Friday and continued into Saturday. The Observatory mentioned that Islamic State fighters inside Syria repelled an badault by Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, the paramilitary group of largely Shiite fighters throughout the Iraqi safety forces. The Observatory mentioned the badault befell close to the border city of Boukamal however that the PMF fighters crossed again into Iraq.

Jaafar al-Husseini, spokesman for Iraq’s Kataeb Hezbollah, a bunch throughout the PMF, informed the Associated Press his forces clashed with militants simply yards from the border with Syria. He mentioned his forces additionally fired rockets inside Syria from Qaim, the Iraqi border city reclaimed from Islamic State on Friday.

But al-Husseini mentioned his fighters didn’t cross into Syria. He mentioned forces from Iraqi militias have been already preventing in Syria alongside the Syrian authorities and different Iran-supported militias to reclaim the final stronghold of the group and safe the highway between Iraq and Syria, all the best way to Lebanon.

He mentioned his forces are constructing berms alongside the border to forestall militants from sneaking again.

On Friday, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s army introduced the seize of the jap Syrian metropolis of Deir el-Zour, whereas Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi proclaimed victory in retaking the city of Qaim on the border, the militants’ final important city space in Iraq. The Syrian forces are anticipated to now deal with Boukamal.

Boukamal is the final city heart for the militants in each Iraq and Syria the place Syrian troops —backed by Russia and Iranian-supported militias — and U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are vying for management of the strategic border city, key to regulate of the borders between the 2 nations.

Washington is cautious of accelerating Iranian affect within the space and has backed the SDF of their bid to uproot Islamic State from the borders with Iraq. The proximity of forces within the space has raised considerations about potential clashes between them as they method Boukamal from reverse sides of the Euphrates River, and now from throughout the border with Iraq.

Al-Husseini mentioned the PMF will take part within the liberation of Boukamal and can head north to guard the borders and safe the highway from Iran to Lebanon.

“We can say after liberating the borders that we have foiled the U.S. project on the Iraq and Syrian borders,” mentioned al-Husseini.

Spokesman for the U.S. coalition Col. Ryan Dillon mentioned that regardless of a number of forces working within the space, together with the Syrian troops, Russia and Iranian-backed militias, the coalition continues to work with the Russians to keep away from confrontation.

Dillon mentioned there are between 2,500 and three,500 remaining Islamic State fighters concentrated round Boukamal.

Sarah El Deeb and Qbadim Abdul-Zahra are Associated Press writers.


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