Iraq, US-backed Syria forces surround IS-held towns in Deir az-Zour

Iraq, US-backed Syria forces surround IS-held towns in Deir az-Zour
2 min read
13 May, 2018
Iraqi security forces operating alongside a US-backed Kurdish alliance have surrounded Syrian border towns controlled by the Islamic State group, news website Zaman al-Wasl has reported.
Iraq has recently carried out airstrikes against IS in Syria [Zaman al-Wasl]

Iraqi security forces operating alongside a US-backed Kurdish alliance have surrounded Syrian border towns controlled by the Islamic State group, news website Zaman al-Wasl has reported.

A local source told the Syrian opposition outlet on Saturday that the joint operation involving the Iraqi military and the Syrian Democratic Forces has encircled the IS-controlled towns in Deir az-Zour province.

"The forces have blockaded the towns of al-Baghouz and al-Hajeen," activist Abdel Rahman al-Khidr said.

"Iraqi military personnel have entered Syrian territory to support the SDF in a joint operation against IS pockets in the desert region along the Syria-Iraq border," Khedr added.

Earlier this month, SDF announced it was relaunching efforts to clear IS from the few areas in Syria where they maintain a presence, including in the eastern oil-rich province of Deir az-Zour near the border with Iraq.

The first phase of operations aims to secure the southeast portion of the Syria-Iraq border in coordination with the Iraqi security forces.

Iraq has recently carried out airstrikes against IS in Syria.

IS extremists swept across large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, declaring a so-called "caliphate" in areas they controlled.

But the jihadists have since lost most of that territory to various offensives in both countries.

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