Iraqi special forces are carrying out an operation to recapture the city west of Baghdad from IS fighters who have held it for more than two years. Tens of thousands of civilians are believed to be trapped inside.
Iraq's Supreme Court has ruled that the constitution does not allow any region to secede. The declaration comes a month after the northern Kurdish region overwhelmingly voted for independence in a disputed referendum.
Iraqi forces have cleared out fighters from the "Islamic State" from their last stronghold in the country. IS now holds just a narrow slither in the country's west.
Government troops have turned to the terrorists' last bastion on the Syrian border, having already recaptured 90 percent of Iraqi land from IS. At the same time, Baghdad was rekindling conflict with the country's Kurds.
The Syrian army retook the city of Deir el-Zour from the "Islamic State," on a day the militants also lost al-Qaim in Iraq. The twin blow means the jihadis have lost almost all their urban strongholds in Syria and Iraq.
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