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Syria says ISIS defeated in long fight for Deir el-Zour

Syrian state media said Friday that the army had liberated the eastern city of Deir el-Zour from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.

Friday's report said the military was in full control of the long contested city.

Syrian government forces and their pro-government allies first broke the militant group's siege of their part of the city in September and had been advancing against ISIS positions there since.

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Deir el-Zour had been divided into a government-held and an ISIS-held part for nearly three years.

The development is the latest significant defeat for ISIS as the militant group sees its self-proclaimed "caliphate" crumble and loses all of its urban strongholds.

The Syrian army and Kurdish-led forces backed by the U.S. are now racing to take the rest of the oil-rich eastern province.

Meanwhile, across the border, an Iraqi officer said Friday that troops battling ISIS in that country's far west had reached the Syrian frontier as they fought militants near the border town of Qaim.

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Maj. Bassam Fawaz with the federal police said Iraqi forces reached the border on Friday morning as they continued to close in on the last remaining pocket of militant-held territory in Iraq's Anbar province.

The joint operations command said Iraqi forces began pushing into the western neighborhoods of Qaim and that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi pledged the battle would be finished within days.

Qaim, about 200 miles west of Baghdad, lies along a border crossing with Syria in the Euphrates River Valley. It had been used by ISIS to ferry fighters and supplies between the two countries since the militants seized nearly a third of both Iraqi and Syrian territory in 2014.

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