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Friday, 14 December 2018

Islamic State group sliding from defeat to defeat

AP , Tuesday 5 Sep 2017
Islamic State
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US backed Kurdish-Arab alliance, hold a position in Raqa on September 4, 2017, as they battle to retake the northern Syrian city from the Islamic State (IS) group. (Photo: AFP)
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The Islamic State group seized swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014 as it sought to establish its self-declared "caliphate", but has faced a series of major defeats in recent months.

Forces backed by a US-led coalition have ousted the militants from Iraqi bastions such as Mosul and the extremists also have lost control of more than half of their de facto Syrian capital, Raqa.

Here are some of the significant losses for IS group in a complex and difficult military campaign.


KOBANE: The Kurdish town in northern Syria became an early symbol of the fight against IS group when the militants were driven out by US-backed Kurdish forces in January 2015 after a battle of more than four months.

PALMYRA: This ancient desert city was seized by IS group in May 2015 when the militants blew up UNESCO-listed Roman-era temples and looted ancient relics.

Syrian regime forces backed by Russian warplanes and allied militia ousted them in March 2016 but the extremists won back control by the end of that year before being expelled a second time in March 2017.

MANBIJ: IS group seized this strategic town near the border with Turkey in 2014 and used it as a hub for moving militants and supplies to and from Europe.

It was recaptured in August 2016 after a two-month battle led by a coalition of Arab and Kurdish fighters backed by US air strikes.

DABIQ: Syrian rebels supported by Turkish warplanes and artillery captured Dabiq in October 2016. Under IS control since August 2014, the fight for the city was significant because of a prophecy that Christian and Muslim forces will battle there at the end of time.

BATTLE FOR RAQA: A US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters launched an operation to capture Raqa in November 2016. They say they now control 60 percent of the city, with an estimated 5,000-10,000 militants having fled.

DEIR EZZOR: On September 5, 2017, Russian-backed Syrian forces broke a years-long IS siege on a government enclave in Deir Ezzor city and entered a military base on its western edge after weeks of advances in the eastern oil-rich region.

TIKRIT: The hometown of late dictator Saddam Hussein, north of Baghdad, fell to IS group in June 2014. It was retaken in March 2015 by Iraqi troops, police and Shiite-dominated paramilitary forces.

SINJAR: Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by US-led coalition air strikes recaptured this northern town in November 2015 after militants had killed and abducted thousands of members of the Yazidi minority.

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