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The New Arab

Iraq airstrikes kill 40 Islamic State militants in Syria

Iraqi forces have been fighting IS in Syria [File Photo: Getty]

Date of publication: 21 November, 2018

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The Iraqi military says it has killed 40 Islamic State fighters in Syria.

The Iraqi military says it has killed 40 Islamic State militants in airstrikes in Syria.

The joint operations command said in a statement its F-16 jets struck IS positions in their pocket in eastern Syria twice on Tuesday, destroying a base and an arms warehouse in the villages of Sousa and Baghous.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group says at least 16 IS fighters were killed in the strikes.

Iraqi forces have been firing on IS positions across the border in eastern Syria to support the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in their push against the last IS pocket along the border.

IS fighters first swept into Iraq and Syria in the summer of 2014, taking control of nearly a third of the country. At the height of the group's power its self-proclaimed caliphate stretched from the edges of Aleppo in Syria to just north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

With its physical caliphate largely destroyed, IS is transforming from a "proto-state" to a covert "terrorist" network, "a process that is most advanced in Iraq" because it still controls pockets in Syria, according to a UN report.

The UN report said IS may still have up to 30,000 members roughly equally distributed between Syria and Iraq.

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