Friday, 3 November 2017

ISIL territory Shrinking

Some major changes in the geography of Middle East are taking place:
Islamic State militants lost their last foothold in a major city and a strategic border crossing on Friday, as the Syrian and Iraqi militaries made significant advances, squeezing the militant group into a shrinking patch of territory near the border. Syrian government forces, supported by intense Russian airstrikes and Iranian-backed militias on the ground, drove the militants from the last few neighborhoods they controlled in the eastern provincial capital of Deir al-Zour, the Syrian army said. Across the border, the Iraqi army and allied Iranian-backed militias seized control of a crucial border crossing after taking most of the town of Qaim, Iraq, from the Islamic State, according to the Iraqi military chief of staff. (Anne Barnard and Margaret Coker, 'ISIS, Squeezed on Two Sides, Loses Syrian City and Border Crossing' New York Times Nov. 3, 2017) .

Thomas van Linge's maps show what is happening

Now the government has taken over the area of Abu Sayyaf's compound subject of an illegal overnight raid by American troops, perhaps we will see more documents and artefacts surfacing. Presumably, if ISIL really was trading in artefacts, we will find more evidence of this, be finding abandoned caches. Won't we?  Where are they?

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