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ISIS Forces Have Withdrawn From Aleppo

| by Sarah Zimmerman

In a major victory against the extremist terror organization, ISIS has reportedly been effectively pushed out of the Aleppo region in Syria.

For years, thousands of civilians have been trapped in the city as Syrian pro-government forces, in an apparent attempt to attack ISIS sympathizers, have been shooting men, women and children in their homes or on the street, according to CNN.

Thousands have fled the city as refugees in recent months as the conflict has intensified and become even bloodier.

The situation may finally be winding down, as it has been confirmed that ISIS militants have fled the city after Syrian regime forces have seized control of a key highway linking the Hama province to the Raqa province, according to AFP.

"IS withdrew from 17 towns and villages and is now effectively outside of Aleppo province after having a presence there for four years," said the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman.

Syrian military forces have also confirmed the withdrawal.

"The military operation is ongoing and [ISIS] withdrew from the Aleppan countryside towards rural territory in Hama and Raqa," said the unnamed source.

The source added: "The Syrian army is clearing out the last few [meters]."

ISIS forces have also been pushed out of their de-facto capital in Mosul, Iraq. Iraqi troops were able to seize the ruins of Mosul's grand mosque and have confirmed that the extremists' reign in the area is officially over, according to The Independent.

"Their fictitious state has fallen," said military spokesperson Brigadier General Yahya Rasool on June 29.

Although there are still approximately 300 militants fighting in the area, Iraqi authorities believe the conflict will completely end within the next few days. 

Thousands of civilians have died throughout the U.S.-led campaign to retake Mosul and 850,000 have been forced from their homes as refugees. The once cosmopolitan city has now been reduced to rubble.

Nonetheless, this could mark the end of ISIS's control over large swaths of land. Some analysts worry that without land strongholds, the group may increase the amount of terror attacks across the world. 

"It’s important to differentiate between Isis as a global ideology and its physical quasi-state project,” said Dr. Andreas Krieg, a political risk analyst at King's College London's Department of Defense Studies. 

“ISIS is not the root cause of Iraq's problems, it's a symptom of it," Krieg added. "And all the local grievances that allowed Isis to flourish in the first place -- physical insecurity, disenfranchisement -- are not going to go away."

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