Islamic State suffers huge losses as Iraqi Army recaptures Hawija, Syria and closes in on Raqqa

With Iraqi forces recapturing the key town of Hawija on Thursday, the Islamic State in that country stands considerably weakened. The militant group once held one-third of Iraqi territory but it has suffered loss after loss this year and now only controls a slither of land in the Euphrates Valley near the Syrian border.

In a further blow to the Islamic State, about 1,000 of its militants surrendered to Iraqi forces, USA Today reported. This indicates that the militant group is fast collapsing and is unable to defend its territory.

Iraqi forces take position against Islamic State at Hawija. AP

Iraqi forces take a position against Islamic State at Hawija. AP

The decisive blow for the Islamic State in Iraq had come in July this year after Iraqi forces captured Mosul, the largest city in the 'caliphate' proclaimed by it.

The group — whose motto was "remain and expand" — has not conquered new areas around the core of its "caliphate" since 2015, but has lost thousands of fighters and is less attractive to foreign jihadists than it once was, according to AFP.

The recapturing of Hawija assumes particular importance for Iraq in the context of the recent Kurdish referendum, as pointed out by a Reuters report. The Iraqi state suffered a setback in the referendum as the Kurdish minority voted overwhelmingly in support for autonomy.

The Islamic State is also losing ground in Raqqa in Syria, the de-facto capital of the 'caliphate.' Syrian forces announced on 20 September that its assault on Raqqa is almost complete, with almost 80 percent of the city captured, as reported by BBC.

A CNBC report points out that the militant outfit has also suffered huge financial losses in the recent past. According to the report, US airstrikes halved the Islamic State's oil and natural sales, which are a major source of revenue for them. A reduction in revenue has led them to introduce a plethora of fines and taxes on its captives. Some of these taxes and fines have been levied on absurd things, such as 'exit fees' for leaving a city and fines for not answering questions on the Quran correctly.

Published Date: Oct 06, 2017 17:04 PM | Updated Date: Oct 06, 2017 17:04 PM

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