Iraqi forces and members of the Hashd al-Shaabi advance towards the city of al-Qaim, in Iraq's western Anbar province near the Syrian border as they fight against remnant pockets of ISIS group on November 3, 2017. Photo: AFP / Ahmad al-Rubaye
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Iraqi army has announced that it has captured a border crossing with Syria after their forces and a mix of Sunni and Shiite militia entered al-Qaim, one of the last strongholds of the ISIS militants in western Iraq.
It is part of the final offensive to drive out the ISIS militants in Iraq following the liberation of Mosul and Hawija.
The Iraqi army, Sunni tribal fighters and the Iranian-backed Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi supported by the US-led Global Coalition launched the offensive on October 26 when Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued the order during a visit to Iran.
Lt. Gen. Abdulamir Yarallah, commander of the operation to liberate areas located in the western province of Anbar stated that they are now in full control of Hasiba border line between Iraq and Syria.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulated his forces on their Friday advances.
ISIS militants are still in control of the other side of the border, al-Boukamal, where the Russian-backed Syrian forces and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are in a race to reach the last remaining ISIS-held areas in Deir ez-Zor.
The Syrian army announced Thursday that they liberated Deir ez-Zor city from the ISIS militants.
The Global Coalition announced on Thursday that the ISIS militants had lost 96 percent of the territory they once controlled in Iraq and Syria.
The extremist group has lost its self-styled capitals of Mosul and Raqqa to US-backed forces in July and October this year, respectively.