Iraq's Ministry of Defense says Iraqi forces backed by a US-led coalition have liberated the last Iraqi town held by the Islamic State group, per the AP. The ministry said in a statement Friday morning that Iraqi military units and local tribal fighters entered the western neighborhoods of Rawah on the Euphrates River in the western province of Anbar. Officials then announced that forces had taken control of the town; per the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, the Iraqi national flag was raised over the city by midday Friday, CNN reports. A command spokesman says engineers placed a pontoon bridge so that Iraqi forces could cross the Euphrates.
ISIS fighters swept across Iraq's north and west in the summer of 2014, capturing Iraq's second largest city of Mosul and advancing to the edges of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Later that year the US began a campaign of airstrikes against the militants that fueled Iraqi territorial gains, allowing the military to retake Mosul in July of this year. Back in August, Defense Secretary James Mattis said, "ISIS is on the run and they have been shown to be unable to stand up to our team." Per CNN, there are still some pockets of resistance, with ISIS controlling certain territory in the deserts in the western part of the country, but it no longer controls any towns or cities.
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