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IS group setbacks in Syria and Iraq

AFP , Thursday 7 Apr 2016
IS group
File photo of Islamic State (IS) group militants. (Photo: AP)
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The militant Islamic State (IS) group has faced major setbacks in Syria and Iraq over the past 15 months.

The latest was its loss on Thursday of its main supply route to Turkey.

Here are the key IS group losses since January 2015 :

After a series of victories, IS suffers its first serious setback on January 26, 2015 in Kobane, a Syrian Kurdish town near the border with Turkey known in Arabic as Ain al-Arab.

Kurdish forces backed by intense US-led air strikes capture the town after four months of fighting.

In June, Syrian Kurds also capture Tal Abyad, another town near the border that controls a supply route to Raqa, the IS de facto capital in northern Syria.

Iraqi troops, police and Shiite-dominated paramilitary forces retake Tikrit, the hometown of the late dictator Saddam Hussein, on March 31, 2015.

The operation, at that time the largest by Iraqi forces against IS, is aided by the fact that much of Tikrit's 200,000 residents had fled the city.

On November 13, 2015, Iraqi Kurds backed by US-led coalition air strikes drive IS out of Sinjar, northwest of Baghdad, cutting one of the group's crucial supply lines between Iraq and Syria.

IS had seized Sinjar in August 2014 and carried out a brutal campaign against its Yazidi minority that included massacres, enslavement and rapes.

Iraqi troops retake a key district of the Sunni Arab city of Ramadi on December 8. Two weeks later, the troops backed by coalition air strikes reach the city's centre.

Ramadi is the capital of Anbar province, Iraq's largest which stretches from the borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to just west of Baghdad.

IS had seized Ramadi the previous May following an assault by dozens of suicide bombers driving explosives-rigged vehicles.

On March 24, 2016 Iraqi forces oust militants from villages south of Mosul, IS's main hub in the country.

The army says the operation was the first phase of an offensive to recapture Nineveh province and its capital Mosul.

In Syria, regime forces backed by Russian warplanes and allied militia enter the IS-held ancient city of Palmyra retaking it a day later.

Known as the "Pearl of the Desert", Palmyra was overrun by IS in May 2015, since when the militants blew up UNESCO-listed temples and looted ancient relics.

On April 7, 2016 Syrian rebels seize control of the IS's main supply route to Turkey, the northeast of Al-Rai, following two days of clashes.

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