Iraqi forces entered al-Qaem, one of the last remaining territories in the country still held by Daesh [the Arabic acronym for ‘ISIS/ISIL'] terrorists, in the country's western Anbar province, military commanders said.
Iraqi forces, backed by the air force, unleashed a barrage of artillery fire against Daesh positions inside the town early on Friday.
Troops from the Iraqi army and the elite Counter Terrorism Service "have started the assault on the center of al-Qaem," according to Staff Major General Noman Abed al-Zobai, the commander of the 7th Division.
Speaking on condition of anonymity another officer said that the town's Gaza district was retaken from the terrorists.
"Counter Terrorism Service units and tribal fighters have liberated Gaza after violent clashes, leaving some terrorists dead, while others withdrew towards the center of al-Qaem," he said.
For their part, Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces [Hashd al-Sha'abi] said in a statement that terrorist had set fire to civilians' houses in the southwestern neighborhood to make it hard to see them from the air.
It also said that several Daesh members had fled across the border towards the Syrian town of Albu Kamal in the eastern Deir Ezzor Province.
According to Hashd al-Sha'abi, Iraqi security forces retook a border crossing with Syria from Daesh.
The road, which runs through al-Qaem in Iraq and Albu-Kamal in Syria, was recaptured earlier in the day.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team