Iraqi troops began an offensive to drive out Daesh militants from Rawa, the last stronghold of the group in the Iraqi western border with Syria.

Iraqi forces dance on November 4, 2017 near the Syrian border after recapturing the border town of al Qaim, west of Anbar, Daesh group a day earlier.
Iraqi forces dance on November 4, 2017 near the Syrian border after recapturing the border town of al Qaim, west of Anbar, Daesh group a day earlier. (AFP)

Iraqi forces launched an offensive on Saturday to capture Rawa, the last remaining town under Daesh control, leaving the group's self-proclaimed caliphate on the verge of complete defeat.

The capture of the town would mark the end of Daesh 's era of territorial rule over a so-called caliphate that it proclaimed in 2014 across vast swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Syria's regime declared victory over the group on Thursday, after seizing the last substantial town on the border with Iraq, Bukamal.

But the next day, Daesh fought back and retook half the town.

The regime army and its allies are still fighting Daesh in desert areas near Bukamal.

Two Iraqi infantry divisions and tribal forces are participating in the offensive to recapture the small town of Rawa and its surrounding areas along the border with Syria, the Joint Operations Command said in a statement.

Last week, Iraqi forces recaptured the larger town of Al Qaim, in what Prime Minister Haider al Abadi called "record time", leaving just a few small pockets of land in Daesh's hands.

Iraq has been carrying out its final campaign to crush the Daesh caliphate while also mounting a military offensive in the north against the Kurds who held a non-binding independence referendum in September. 

Source: Reuters