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New offensive aims to retake western Anbar

Iraqi forces are advancing toward Ana, Rawa and al-Qaim – an operation that promises to clear the last major IS strongholds in Anbar province and reclaim the Akkas gas field.
Iraqi security forces and al-Hashid al-Shabi paramilitary forces before attacking the IS group in Fallujah with heavy weapons on July 12, 2015. (ALI MOHAMMED/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Iraqi security forces are launching an offensive to dislodge the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) from the western part of Anbar province - the largest remaining swath of Iraqi territory controlled by the militant group, which includes the Akkas gas field.

In parallel actions this week, Iraqi troops swept up along the Syrian border to retake the town of Akashat, partially sealing off a western flank. Then, forces began advancing from the east toward the IS-occupied district of Ana.

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