Iraqi forces recapture 39 villages from IS militants near Hawijah

The Iraq launched an attack on one of the last strongholds of ISIS

Iraq launches offensive to retake ISIS stronghold Hawija near Kirkuk

USA -backed Iraqi forces retook Mosul from the extremists in July, and in the months since, have driven IS from all major urban areas in Iraq, leaving only pockets of control for the extremists, who also seized territory in Syria.

As the USA -led coalition effort to destroy Islamic State's physical caliphate nears its endgame in Iraq, a major question hangs over the country: Is there still an Iraq?

Iraqi forces this week began a US-backed operation in the west to expel Islamic State from areas along the border with Syria. Clooney represents women of Iraq's Yazidi minority who were kidnapped and held as sex slaves by IS militants after the terrorist organization conquered large swathes of Iraq in mid-2014.

Iraq has launched an offensive against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Hawija, Kirkuk province, according to the country's prime minister.

Earlier this month, Iraqi aircraft and coalition aircraft under the leadership of the United States intensified air strikes on bases and weapons ISIS in Javea.

Washington issued on Wednesday a forceful statement against the Kurdish referendum.

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On Monday, Netanyahu and Trump met in New York City on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also reiterated support.

The US-led coalition fighting IS hailed the new offensive by the Iraqi security forces against the militant group, also known as ISIS.

On August 31, Iraq's prime minister said the city of Tal Afar and the entire Nineveh province had been purged of Daesh Takfiri terrorists.

Plans to retake Hawija have been complicated by political wrangling among the Iraqi security forces, Shiite armed groups and the Kurdish peshmerga troops. However, the resolution crucially fails to include any provisions to ensure accountability for crimes committed by Iraqi forces and others responsible for grave violations of worldwide law, including war crimes, during the conflict.

Rasul said that between 800 and 1,500 Islamic State extremists remained holed up inside Hawija. "Its defeat in Iraq further demonstrates ISIS is an organization in decline, whose leaders are no longer capable of effective military command and control", US-backed coalition spokesperson Colonel Ryan Dillon said.

The report also showed how ISIS fighters used civilians as human shields, forcing them from neighbouring villages into battle zones in west Mosul, while also trapping them in their homes to prevent them from escaping.

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