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Final ISIS town in Iraq falls to government troops Watch

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    This is an amazing development. The final large town held by ISIS in Iraq has now fallen to government troops in the last few hours.

    After the fall of Mosul and Raqqa, ISIS fled into the Sunni heartlands of the Euphrates Valley, which straddles across the Syrian-Iraqi border. In particular, there are two towns, one on each side of the border, (Abu Kamal in Syria, Al-Qaim in Iraq) which formed the core of the ISIS Euphrates redoubt.

    Many people believe that the ISIS leadership fled to the Abu Kamal / Al-Qaim area. Al-Qaim just fell today to Iraqi government troops.

    https://isis.liveuamap.com/en/2017/3...order-crossing

    Meanwhile, Kurdish and Syrian government troops are making their way down the Euphrates Valley toward the Syrian-Iraqi border to take Abu Kamal. Right now, Syria is moving mobile artillery and rocket systems toward Abu Kamal, and Russian Tu-22M3 bombers (along with submarine-launched cruise missiles) have been pounding Abu Kamal. The final assault is near.

    Within three months, ISIS will almost certainly no longer be a pseudo-state and will go back to being an insurgency. I so hope they capture the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and then put him in a cage and parade him through the streets in the Iraqi victory parade. Let him suffer the humiliation he's inflicted on so many others before going to his death.
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    They've also lost the last major Syrian city that they held too, Deir al-Zour.

    The little sliding picture on this article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-41856330 displays just how much territory they've lost over the last couple of years. Really, quite an amazing achievement so far,
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    ISIS have lost 90% of the territory they once captured and they're falling apart at the seems. The end is near for them and they'll just break up and go back to living amongst the population again until the next war breaks out.

    The Kurdish and Iraqi forces have done an amazing job retaking all those cities as fast as they have and I just hope the people of Iraq and Syria can start rebuilding their lives and live in peace.
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    It's worthwhile adding just how magnificent has been the professionalism and effectiveness of the United States, the United Kingdom and its allies in taking on the ISIS threat.

    In August 2014 when the intervention commenced, ISIS controlled half of Iraq and a good portion of Syria. Its troops were on the outskirts of Baghdad and the Iraqi government was considering relocating to the south of Iraq. It came close to toppling the Iraqi government. It had huge amounts of territory, thousands of recruits joining each month, a $2 billion a year income (the richest and most successful terrorist group in history). ISIS had enjoyed victory after victory, and the Kurds were under serious pressure and worried that their lines may collapse.

    Fast forward to today, and ISIS is almost defeated. And what did it cost the West? We've lost 11 soldiers killed in action, and it has cost us about $10 billion. By contrast, we've killed over 70,000 ISIS terrorists in airstrikes, destroyed 32,000 targets, thousands of vehicles.

    When we fought the terrorists in Iraq in the 2000s, something like 4,000 US troops were lost. It was a very hard slog. This time around, we lost 11. It's clear that we've learned from our experiences of counterinsurgency. We've become much more adept at this type of warfare. The Islamist terrorists will continue to face us at their peril. And of course, almost the entire ISIS leadership are in hiding like rats, sleeping at a new safe house every night and constantly worried they will get clipped in a drone strike.

    This has been a most successful campaign. The strategy worked. Those who claimed back in 2014 that we dare not fight ISIS, that attacking them will only make them stronger, have a lot of explaining to do.
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    (Original post by MrDystopia)
    They've also lost the last major Syrian city that they held too, Deir al-Zour.
    Good point. In fact, the capture of Deir ez-Zor seems quite momentous given how hard fought the battle was there. The Syrian garrison were almost overrun by ISIS back in 2014, but managed to hold out through a three year siege being supplied and reinforced by air.

    The loss of Deir ez-Zor and Al-Qaim really do presage the end for this hideous group
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    (Original post by Ninja Squirrel)
    The end is near for them and they'll just break up and go back to living amongst the population again until the next war breaks out.
    AQI (ISIS) got a lifeline when the US pulled out in 2011, and from the Syrian Civil War and the ludicrous sectarianism of the government in Baghdad. From what I can see, all sides in Iraq are sick of war and are determined that there be true reconciliation.

    In fact, Moqtada al-Sadr (who surprisingly is actually a very sensible, genuine guy these days) has been pressing for true reconciliation and the Sunnis have supported his plan.

    For all the trauma and tragedy, the ISIS war has strengtened Iraq. It has seen the creation of a truly capable Iraqi Army (who may well play a greater role in Iraqi politics in future... at least, I wouldn't be surprised if ten years from now the Iraqi PM is some hero from the ISIS war). The Sunni tribesmen are determined not to allow ISIS to return to live among them.

    I believe the Iranians realise that pushing for hardcore sectarianism is inimical to their security where it leads to Sunni uprisings. I do not think we will see an internal Iraqi war on this scale again in the near future.

    The Kurdish and Iraqi forces have done an amazing job retaking all those cities as fast as they have and I just hope the people of Iraq and Syria can start rebuilding their lives and live in peace.
    I completely agree. The Iraqi state has been tested by fire, and come out stronger in my opinion. The Shi'a elites have come to see the dangers of untramelled sectarianism. I hope that, finally, we can see the beginnings of an Iraq that will be able to stand on its own two feet
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    When we fought the terrorists in Iraq in the 2000s, something like 4,000 US troops were lost. It was a very hard slog. This time around, we lost 11. It's clear that we've learned from our experiences of counterinsurgency. We've become much more adept at this type of warfare.
    Well it's worth mentioning that the U.S and UK didn't have any actual soldiers on the ground, just a few small groups of elite special forces tasked with carrying out specific operations. The Iraq and Afghan wars before were full boots on the ground invasions so obviously you're going to have many many more deaths.

    Flying high above the enemy dropping bombs was never really going to lead to much loss of life for the western forces. The Iraqi army however has lost thousands of soldiers and tens of thousands of civilians have perished which is very sad. Those people have lived through two wars in the last 15 years. Some of those kids have only ever seen war... I just hope now is their time for peace.
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    (Original post by Ninja Squirrel)
    Well it's worth mentioning that the U.S and UK didn't have any actual soldiers on the ground, just a few small groups of elite special forces tasked with carrying out specific operations.
    Of course. For the most part the Western troops in Iraq/Syria were either actings as JTACs (laser designating targets for guided bombs) or trainers. I realise that they're not apples and apples, but when the ISIS intervention started there were many people who said that we had to send in large numbers of ground troops to be effective.

    In terms of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the actual invasion itself resulted in very little loss of life (about 100 US soldiers iirc). It was in the post-invasion counter-insurgency battle that the US lost so many soldiers, and the best estimates we have are that they killed around 30,000 insurgents in the 2003-2011 period.

    That we chose not to send in the ground troops and limit out contribution to special forces / JTAC / trainers, and to focus on air support, is indicative of how much we've learnt. It's almost like we've come up with our own form of asymmetric warfare. During the post-2003 Iraq years, we were the lumbering, crude entity who kept getting thumped over and over again (although in the end we did win). These days, we are the far more nimble of the two sides. Drones are to Al-Qaeda what the roadside bombs were to us.

    The reality is that ISIS is far stronger than AQI ever was in the 2003-2011 period. We could well have been sucked in to an on-the-ground counter-insurgency fight. My point was to show just how effective we've been, with very little loss of life, and for far better outcomes than we were able to achieve in 2003-2011
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    Great news that ISIS is nearly finished as a physical caliphate. With Al Qaim gone, there's literelly just Al Bukamal and a few villages left in ISIS control.

    It really discredits a lot of the people who complained about western military action by saying it wouldn't work, and claiming that killing thousands of ISIS fighters and destroying all their heavy weapons and helping local ground forces advance and take their territory would somehow magically make the group stronger.

    If we'd listened to those people, the situation today would be completely different. Thankfully we didn't.
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    It's true that Daesh is on its last legs as an organisation that can hold ground. Unfortunately it'll take longer to weed out their poisonous ideology.

    The key now is to stop Iraq from returning to sectarian violence. The Iraqi army & Kurdish forces recently came into conflict over Kirkuk - Kurdish forces withdrew to avoid bloodshed from what I gather.
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/1...215041252.html

    The situation in Syria is worse with Assad's forces advancing on SDF held positions and it would not surprise me if intensive fighting between those two factions resumes once Daesh is defeated. The SDF have Raqqah & some of the oil fields but other than that, the Syrian regime controls much of the country. The Russians & Iranians certainly seem to be probing Coalition Forces which has already led to tense stand offs. From what I gather, it hasn't been uncommon for Coalition aircraft to have to switch from CAS to CAP to deter Russian aircraft from striking SDF forces that are integrated with Western advisors.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-u...-idUSKCN1B80CA
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    It's worthwhile adding just how magnificent has been the professionalism and effectiveness of the United States, the United Kingdom and its allies in taking on the ISIS threat.

    In August 2014 when the intervention commenced, ISIS controlled half of Iraq and a good portion of Syria. Its troops were on the outskirts of Baghdad and the Iraqi government was considering relocating to the south of Iraq. It came close to toppling the Iraqi government. It had huge amounts of territory, thousands of recruits joining each month, a $2 billion a year income (the richest and most successful terrorist group in history). ISIS had enjoyed victory after victory, and the Kurds were under serious pressure and worried that their lines may collapse.

    Fast forward to today, and ISIS is almost defeated. And what did it cost the West? We've lost 11 soldiers killed in action, and it has cost us about $10 billion. By contrast, we've killed over 70,000 ISIS terrorists in airstrikes, destroyed 32,000 targets, thousands of vehicles.

    When we fought the terrorists in Iraq in the 2000s, something like 4,000 US troops were lost. It was a very hard slog. This time around, we lost 11. It's clear that we've learned from our experiences of counterinsurgency. We've become much more adept at this type of warfare. The Islamist terrorists will continue to face us at their peril. And of course, almost the entire ISIS leadership are in hiding like rats, sleeping at a new safe house every night and constantly worried they will get clipped in a drone strike.

    This has been a most successful campaign. The strategy worked. Those who claimed back in 2014 that we dare not fight ISIS, that attacking them will only make them stronger, have a lot of explaining to do.
    And how many civilians were killed in these air strikes? How many homes were destroyed?
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    (Original post by serions871)
    And how many civilians were killed in these air strikes?
    The best estimates we have are that around 2,500 civilians have been killed in Western airstrikes. It's a significant number and every one of those deaths is an absolute tragedy.

    But by relative and historical standards, the fact that only one civilian died for every thirty terrorists killed is quite a good record compared to previous air campaigns. There is little doubt that the air campaign is proportionate and lawful.

    How many homes were destroyed?
    And what is your solution? Allow ISIS to remain in place? How many civilians would have been killed by those 70,000 ISIS members if we'd allowed them to live? How many homes (and mosques, and temples and churches and ruins from ancient civilisations) would have been destroyed?

    The deaths of any civilians are regrettable. But just as if a madman took hostages and the police SWAT team had to go in, knowing that there are risks of casualties, so civilian casualties are an unfortunate side effect of the justified campaign to take on ISIS.

    If we were killing one civilian for every ISIS member then you might have a point, but given the casualty rates are nowhere near that, I don't think you do. ISIS is a menace that had to be destroyed. The people who advocate for simply allowing them to remain in place are either being disingenuous or simply don't understand the situation
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    Good riddance to bad filth .
    Warped treacherous cowards who only deserve a bullet .
    Hopefully we exterminate more in the coming weeks.
    I hope all those who left this country to fight for IS all get wiped out too . That would put the icing on the cake ...or the bacon in the sandwich .

    Fantastic news .
 
 
 
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