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09 November 2017, 12:53 | Rufus Hill
NATION-NOW Coalition airstrikes decline by more than 50% as ISIS crumbles in Iraq Syria
Coalition airstrikes decline by more than 50
The Syrian army and allied fighters on Wednesday liberated the city of al-Bukamal, the last Islamic State (IS) stronghold in eastern Syria, pro-government al-Ekhbaria TV reported.
Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces also took part in the operation, close to the border between the two countries.
IS retains control over some areas of desert and villages nearby, and a few other pockets in both Iraq and Syria.
Amid lightning gains that saw the group control almost half of Iraq and Syria at its height in 2014, Baghdadi beckoned Muslims from around the world to join his militant cause during a speech from the Grand Al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, his first and only known public appearance as ISIS chief.
The Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary alliance has denied that its own forces entered Syria on Wednesday as part of the fight. The extremist group's self-styled caliphate is all but gone, but it is expected to continue inspiring and carrying out attacks.
A US -backed coalition has supported a rival campaign by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias that have pushed Islamic State from much of the country's north and east. Washington has not spelled out how its military support for the SDF would evolve after Islamic State's defeat.
The footage shows what is described as Islamic State fighters boarding vehicles and driving towards the last IS-held city in Iraq, Rawa, which is located around 50 miles west of al-Qaim.
It said the fighting would pave the way for Syrian troops to regain full control of the border town, just hours after they and pro-regime fighters surrounded IS fighters there.
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