Self-styled Islamic State is under attack on two fronts as the collapse of its so-called caliphate continues.
In Iraq security forces have begun an offensive to take back the city of Tal Afar. It lies 55 km to the west of Mosul which fell to the US-backed coalition last month.
Airstrikes against the jihadists who are thought to number around 2,000 are underway.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haidar Al Abadi has called on the insurgents to give up the fight:
“My message to Daesh (alternate acronym for Islamic State group): You have no option, you either surrender or die. I promise you today that we will continue the liberation process.”
At the same time the Lebanese Army is embroiled in a bid to take back the Islamist State stronghold Ras Baalbek on its north-eastern border with Syria.
The army says there are around 600 militants holding out in the mountainous region.
— Intel Crab (@IntelCrab) August 19, 2017
On Sunday ( Aug 20) three Lebanese soldiers were reportedly killed and one was critically wounded when their armoured vehicle hit a landmine.
The area where the soldiers were killed was near a border stronghold close to the mountains of Arsal, where Shi’ite Hezbollah militia recently forced Sunni Syrian militants to leave in a joint cross-border operation with the Syrian army.
However Lebanon says there is no connection with the declared joint Hezbollah/ Syrian army offensive.
— Robert Carter (@rob_cart123) August 20, 2017