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Iraq launches operation to clear desert near Syria of Islamic State

Ahmed Rasheed writes for Reuters:

Iraqi forces launched an operation on Thursday to clear the desert bordering Syria of Islamic State in a final push to rid Iraq of the militant group, the military said.

Troops from the Iraqi army and mainly Shi‘ite paramilitaries known as Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) were taking part in the campaign against militants hiding in a large strip of border land, Iraqi military officials said.

“The objective behind the operation is to prevent remaining Daesh groups from melting into the desert region and using it as a base for future attacks,” said army colonel Salah Kareem, referring to Islamic State by an Arabic acronym.

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