Iraqi forces captured the border town of Rawa, the last remaining town under Islamic State control, on Friday, signalling the complete defeat of the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate. The capture of the town marks the end of Islamic State’s era of territorial rule over a so-called caliphate that it proclaimed in 2014 across vast swathes of Iraq and Syria. Iraqi forces “liberated Rawa entirely, and raised the Iraqi flag over its buildings,” Lieutenant General Abdul Ameer Rasheed Yarallah said in a statement from the Joint Operations Command.
Rawa borders Syria, whose army declared victory over the militants on Nov. 9, after seizing the last substantial town on the border with Iraq. “With the liberation of Rawa we can say all the areas in which Daesh is present have been liberated,” a military spokesman said, referring to Islamic State by an Arabic acronym. Iraqi forces will now focus on routing militants who fled into the desert and exert control over Iraq’s borders, he said.