Contrary to Iraqi PM’s announcement, end of ISIS ‘caliphate’ is still far off

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced Thursday evening that the ISIS "caliphate" has come to an end after Iraqi special forces in the city of Mosul captured the ruins of al-Nuri mosque, where in 2014 Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the caliphate's establishment.
DEBKAfile: As usual, the Iraqi prime minister's comments were greatly exaggerated. The capture of the mosque blown up by ISIS last week was an important step but the city is not completely in government hands. Also, there are large areas nearby including in Anbar province and the Euphrates valley in western Iraq where ISIS remains in complete control.
Meanwhile, there were reports on Thursday that the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish militia supported by the US, had completely surrounded the city of Raqqa that was once considered the ISIS capital in Syria. However, there are still large areas in the central, eastern and southern parts of the country that are still controlled by the terrorist organization.
ISIS forces are retreating on most fronts but they are not in flight and there are no signs that they are collapsing.   

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