Iran president Rouhani declares end of IS

General Soleimani congratulates Ayatollah Khamenei on victory over Daesh

General Soleimani congratulates Ayatollah Khamenei on victory over Daesh

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said the victory over the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Iraq and Syria is a defeat of the USA in the region, a media report said.

The Iraqi army, federal police and the Shiite paramilitary group Hashed al-Shaabi have begun "clearing" a large strip of desert in the west of the country, General Abdelamir Yarallah said in a statement.

Last week, the Iraqi forces seized Rawa, the last major IS-held town in the western part of Anbar province. Driven also from its other main bastion in Syria's Raqqa, Islamic State has since been gradually squeezed into an ever-shrinking pocket of desert straddling the Syria-Iraq frontier, pursued by a range of enemies that include most regional states and global powers.

Iran is one of the main worldwide backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has sent military advisers and thousands of "volunteers" to fight IS on the ground in Syria and Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Tuesday Islamic State fighters had been defeated militarily, but he would only declare final victory after the militants were routed in the desert. In a televised speech Rouhani thanked "all the fighters of Islam", supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the armed forces of Iraq and Syria for "the end of this group that brought nothing but evil, destruction, murder and savagery".

More than a thousand members of the Guards, including senior commanders, have been killed in Syria and Iraq. Pro-government forces and US-backed Kurdish forces have already ousted the Jihadists from urban areas.

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