On November 9, the Syrian army said in a statement that it had "liberated" Boukamal, the last urban IS-stronghold in Syria.IS militants withdrew from Boukamal and launched a counteroffensive over the past two days.
Rami Abdurrahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human rights said that Syrian government forces and their allies "are now between one to two kilometers from the city limits".
"IS has nearly completely retaken control of Albu Kamal, pushing pro-regime forces to its southern and eastern edges", said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based monitor.
The SDF also faces restlessness in an Arab-majority town it liberated previous 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.
"It was Daesh's biggest ambush operation, tricking the attacking forces into thinking they had controlled the city", Abdel Rahman said, using the Arabic acronym for IS. Abu Kamal's fall signaled the end of IS as a terrorist group, Syrian Army commanders said. The jihadists' flight from the town, where IS leaders used to meet and were once considered untouchable, caps a process which has seen the group relinquish any ambition as a land-holding force and return to the desert to fight a clandestine guerrilla war.
Across the border on Saturday, Iraqi forces launched an assault to capture the last pocket of IS territory in their country.
Earlier, Iraqi forces recaptured the larger town of al-Qaim.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Da Nang, Vietnam, Nov. 11, 2017. President Donald Trump's Asia visit, which was largely focused on about the North Korean nuclear threat.
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