ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may be in Syria's al-Boukamal


Iraqi forces have launched an offensive to capture Rawa, the last remaining town under Islamic State control, leaving the group's self-proclaimed caliphate on the verge of complete defeat. The report did not elaborate on how the soldiers heard about al-Baghdadi or what they were doing about the information.

Reports that ISIS has lost its "last" stronghold in Syria may have been premature.

IS has suffered a string of defeats at the hands of separate but simultaneous offensives in Iraq and Syria by the Russian-backed Syrian forces and allied militias as well as US -backed Iraqi and Syrian fighters.

"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.

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The army and its allies were still fighting Islamic State in desert areas near Albu Kamal, the last town the militant group had held in Syria.

The militant group overran swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014, but its self-styled "caliphate" has since been whittled down to a pocket of land along the border between the two countries.

The operation's commander, General Abdelamir Yarallah, said his forces captured Rumana and 10 other villages as they worked their way towards the Euphrates Valley town of Rawa, the last Iraqi town still held by IS.

Abu Kamal is the main border crossing into Iraq, where it links with al-Qaim, another town which recently fell to Iraqi forces from ISIS.