Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

ISIS Has Retaken Half of Syrian Border Town

ISIS Has Retaken Half of Syrian Border Town

Syrian opposition activists say fighters of the Islamic State group have regained control of a town near the border with Iraq that the government said it captured earlier this week.

The claim was denied by Syrian opposition activists who said the government is trying to make up for losses it suffered in Boukamal when large parts were retaken by the extremists again on Friday.

The recapture of the Rawa pocket would mark the final battleground defeat of IS in Iraq and sound the death knell of the sprawling "caliphate" the group declared in 2014 over a swathe of Iraq and Syria the size of Britain.

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Al-Baghdadi's whereabouts and the question of whether he is dead or alive have been a continuing source of mystery and confusion.

While ISIS forces have mostly abandoned towns and cities in favor of fleeing into the desert to return to insurgency, they appear to want to keep Abu Kamal contested for now, and there are even reports from Hezbollah that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may be in the area.

"IS fully recaptured Albu Kamal, and regime forces and allied militia are now between one to two kilometres from the city limits", said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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After weeks of advancing on the town, regime forces and allied militia overran it on Thursday but have since faced a string of IS counter-attacks.

The group's last urban stronghold in Syria, Albu Kamal, fell afterwards.

In September, al-Baghdadi released an audio in which he urged his followers to burn their enemies everywhere and target "media centres of the infidels".

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