As troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad took back Dair Alzour on Friday, Iraqi government forces and allied Shiite Muslim militias were battling Islamic State fighters in the far west of their country, pushing into the town of Qaim and seizing a key border crossing under the control of the militants.
Al-Zawbaei went on to point out that Iraqi ground forces were receiving air support from USA -led coalition warplanes, which, he said, had succeeded in destroying "many" ISIS sites in western Anbar.
Forces in Syria and Iraq, backed by regional states and global powers, now appear on the cusp of victory over the group, which proclaimed its authority over all Muslims in 2014 when it held about a third of both countries and ruled over millions.
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The area could be a flash point for escalation, as both the Syrian Democratic Forces and the pro-government alliance - backed respectively by American and Russian warplanes - advance against the Islamic State's remaining pockets in the province, also called Deir al-Zour.
A US -backed alliance of Syrian militias wrested control of Islamic State's de facto capital, Raqqa, last month, and Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul, the largest city held by the militants, in July. The Iraqis, with the support of the global coalition, have now liberated almost all of the territory once held by ISIS in Iraq, they said.
A US-led worldwide coalition has also been bombing ISIS and supporting ground allies on both sides of the frontier said the militant group now has a few thousand fighters left, mainly holed up at the border in Iraq's al-Qaim and its sister town of Albu Kamal on the Syrian side.
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He estimated there were 1,500-2,500 fighters left in al-Qaim and 2,000-3,000 in Albu Kamal.
Deir Ezzor had been divided into government-held and ISIS-held parts for almost three years.
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