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ISIS Has Retaken Half of Syrian Border Town
12 November 2017, 12:49 | Terri Saunders
Asmaa Waguih AP
Iraqi forces have recaptured a city and several villages from Islamic State (IS) militants on the same day Syrian opposition activists said IS regained control of the Syrian town of Al-Bukamal after fierce fighting with government troops.
"ISIL fully recaptured Albu Kamal, and regime forces and allied militia are now between one to two kilometres from the city limits", Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said on Saturday.
The SDF also faces restlessness in an Arab-majority town it liberated past year, a possible sign of things to come in other areas that the Kurdish-dominated forces control in their self-rule area in northern Syria, now about 25 percent of the country's territory. The capture of Albu Kamal was the last in a string of setbacks that saw IS lose its urban bastions of Mosul and Raqa within a few weeks and its embryonic state shrink to a rump.
It is believed ISIL fighters are holding 10,000 civilians hostage in the town of Rawa. The report on Friday did not elaborate on how the soldiers heard about al-Baghdadi or what they were doing about the information. He has been reported killed or wounded many times but IS has never offered any confirmation.
Rawa is the last town still held by IS apart from Albu Kamal, Al-Qaim's twin town just across the Syrian border where the jihadists were still battling Damascus troops and allied forces yesterday after mounting a surprise counterattack late Thursday.
For weeks, the coalition said the SDF meant to push to Albukamal.
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