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The battle of the Euphrates islands: The last stages in the fight against IS

In conjunction with the Mosul operation, the Iraqi army has launched an operation in Anbar province to liberate islands in the Euphrates River that are under Islamic State control and are used as IS safe havens.
A bridge over the Euphrates river is seen in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani - RTX2IHKR

BAGHDAD — Many islands in the Euphrates River in Anbar province have been or still are under the control of the Islamic State (IS). 

These islands have been a haven for IS guerrillas, who use them for military mobilization. Controlling the islands allows IS fighters to dominate the eastern side of the river, which is connected to vast desert areas stretching from Mosul to Anbar all the way to Syria. The eastern side of the river in Anbar is generally sparsely populated. 

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