The formal end of the fight against ISIS in Mosul in July was heralded as a triumph, wresting Iraq’s second-biggest city away from the terrorist group after nine months of intense and destructive fighting.

But ISIS has held on to pockets of territory in Iraq.

On August 19, Iraqi forces launched an assault on ISIS in Tal Afar, a town west of Mosul. By the end of the month, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was again declaring victory.

While the town of Tal Afar is much smaller than Mosul, they were both urban environments. The ISIS-held territory that remains — around Hawija in north-central Iraq and in western Anbar province — are more rural areas.


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