U.S.-backed force seizes 90% of Syria's Raqa from ISIS

Sep 20, 2017 - 5:54 PM

Under siege in the northern city for 3 months, ISIS is struggling to defend its one-time bastion under a barrage of air strikes by the US-led coalition battling the jihadists in Syria and Iraq

WELCOME. Children flash the victory gesture as a military convoy carrying US-made Oshkosh armored vehicles, bulldozers, and arms headed for Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting in Raqa, passes through the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli on September 19, 2017. Delil Souleiman/AFP

Supreme court steps in to block Iraq Kurd independence vote

Sep 18, 2017 - 6:15 PM

(UPDATED) Iraq's supreme court orders the suspension of a September 25 referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan, to examine whether such a poll would be constitutional

Kurdish flags and a flag bearing the portrait of the president of Iraq's Kurdistan region hang above stalls near the citadel in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on September 13, 2017. Safin Hamed/AFP

Stay vigilant, DFA tells Filipinos in Iraq amid new attacks

Sep 16, 2017 - 7:57 PM

'The Philippines condemns the latest attacks in Iraq and all other attacks against civilians by extremist elements in other parts of the world,' Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano says

SUICIDE ATTACK. A general view show burnt out vehicles after gunmen and suicide car bombers killed dozens of people in two assaults claimed by ISIS near the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah on September 14, 2017. Photo by Haidar Hamdani/AFP

Iranians among 52 dead in Iraq attacks claimed by ISIS

Sep 14, 2017 - 10:08 PM

UPDATED The first attack strikes close to a restaurant while shortly afterwards a car bomb targeted a security checkpoint in the same area officials say

Anti-terror chiefs want social media help with 'lone wolves'

Sep 08, 2017 - 8:35 AM

Top counter terror chiefs say tough privacy laws and the protections enjoyed by the largely American internet and social media giants are impeding authorities in their ability to ferret out lone wolf threats

Eid holiday dedicated to 'martyrs' in Iraq's Valley of Peace

Sep 02, 2017 - 6:36 PM

Many families have opted to have their fallen in the ranks of the Hashed forces buried in the Wadi al Salam Valley of Peace cemetery as an honor

IN MEMORY. An Iraqi youth mourns over the grave of a loved one at the Wadi al-Salam cemetary in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on the first day of the Eid al-Adha holiday on September 1, 2017. Photo by Haidar Hamdani/AFP

Islamic State chief Baghdadi likely still alive – U.S. general

Sep 01, 2017 - 9:19 AM

We re looking for him every day I don t think he s dead says Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend commander of the counter ISIS coalition in Iraq and Syria

Iraqi forces poised for victory over ISIS in Tal Afar

Aug 27, 2017 - 11:15 PM

Iraqi forces are holding all 29 districts of the city and are pursuing final mopping up operations says the Joint Operations Command

Fighters of Hashed Al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization units) flash the victory gesture as they advance through a street in the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, after the Iraqi government announced the launch of the operation to retake it from Islamic State (IS) group control, on August 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

Iraq recaptures Tal Afar center, citadel from ISIS

Aug 26, 2017 - 8:57 PM

Tal Afar sits on a strategic route between ISIS controlled territories in Syria and Mosul

DISPLACED. A displaced Iraqi woman, who fled the fight between Iraqi forces and the Islamic State group in Tal Afar, sits inside a tent at the Badush camp, 150 kilometres southeast of Tal Afar, on August 25, 2017. Photo by AFP

French ministers visit Iraq in support of ISIS fight

Aug 26, 2017 - 3:31 PM

Their visit comes as Iraqi forces battle to seize the northern city of Tal Afar from ISIS following their July victory

FIGHT ISIS. Foreign Minister of France, Jean-Yves Le Drian, arrived with Defence Minister Florence Parly in Baghdad, Iraq. File photo by AFP

Iraqi forces advance towards heart of ISIS-held bastion

Aug 24, 2017 - 10:00 AM

The United Nations says thousands of civilians have fled Tal Afar but around 30 000 remain trapped

A fighter from the Hashed Al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization units) walks inside al-Nour neighbourhood, in eastern Tal Afar, the main remaining stronghold of the Islamic State group, after the government announced the beginning of an operation to retake it from the jihadists, on August 23, 2017.  Iraqi forces recaptured several districts and advanced towards the centre of Tal Afar, one of the Islamic State group's last strongholds in the country, as aid workers braced for an exodus of civilians fleeing the fighting. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

Mattis in Baghdad as Iraq presses assault on ISIS bastion

Aug 22, 2017 - 3:37 PM

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis shows US support for Iraqi forces as they pressed an assault on Tal Afar the Islamic State ISIS group s last major bastion in the country s north

TO THE MIDEAST. US Defense Secretary James Mattis speaks to reporters on board a flight to Jordan for the start of a regional tour on August 20, 2017. Paul Handley/AFP

Iraq launches battle for Tal Afar, ISIS bastion near Mosul

Aug 21, 2017 - 1:50 AM

Tal Afar is the last major population center in northern Iraq under the control of the Islamic State

Fighters from the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) paramilitaries advance towards the city of Tal Afar, the main remaining stronghold of the Islamic State group, after the government announced the beginning of an operation to retake it from the jihadists, on August 20, 2017. Iraqi forces pounded the Islamic State group in Tal Afar in a new assault just weeks after ousting IS from second city Mosul. Once a key IS supply hub between Mosul -- around 70 kilometres (45 miles) further east -- and the Syrian border, Tal Afar is the last major population centre in northern Iraq under jihadist control.  / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

Saudi Arabia, Iraq look to reopen border after 27 years

Aug 16, 2017 - 11:58 PM

After Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi visited Saudi Arabia in June Riyadh and Baghdad reach a deal to renovate the Arar border post and fully open it for trade and passage for visitors between the two countries

REOPENING A BORDER. A handout picture released by the official website of the Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari on January 14, 2016 shows him (R) meeting with the new Saudi ambassador to Iraqi Thamer al-Sabhan in the capital Baghdad. Handout photo from AFP

All-Filipino 'puso' on display for German-born Standhardinger

Aug 12, 2017 - 9:00 AM

Christian Standhardinger vowed an all heart performance for Gilas before the FIBA Asia Cup started So far he has lived up to his word

PERSISTENCE. Christian Standhardinger has demonstrated plenty of 'puso' so far in his Gilas Pilipinas career. File photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

Gilas Pilipinas’ second half rampage downs Iraq in FIBA Asia Cup

Aug 11, 2017 - 11:02 PM

Gilas Pilipinas remains flawless with a 2 0 record in the FIBA Asia tourney

HIGHLIGHTS: Philippines vs Iraq - FIBA Asia Cup 2017

Aug 10, 2017 - 6:43 PM

Gilas Pilipinas looks to continue its winning ways in Lebanon against Iraq on Friday August 11 at 9 pm

Anti-ISIS operations enter 4th year

Aug 08, 2017 - 8:03 AM

In the 3 years since the campaign began 70 of the territory ISIS once held in Iraq has been recaptured and 50 in Syria

BATTLE VS ISIS. In this file photo, an Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighter fires at Islamic State (ISIS) militant positions, from his position on the top of Mount Zardak, a strategic point about 25 km east of Mosul on September 9, 2014. JM Lopez/AFP

ISIS claims attack on Iraq embassy in Kabul

Jul 31, 2017 - 4:50 PM

UPDATED All the attackers had been killed and the compound secured roughly 4 hours after the assault began Afghanistan s interior ministry says

KABUL ATTACK. Afghan security forces look on near the site of an ongoing attack on the Iraqi embassy in Kabul on July 31, 2017. Photo by Wakil Kohsar/ AFP

Opium of the people in Marawi

Jul 29, 2017 - 7:30 PM

In this day and age extremism religious or otherwise has become the new opium of the people an addiction to the promise of paradise and its ultimate high is the assurance of going to heaven as a reward for martyrdom

Gilas edges Iraq for bounce back win in Jones Cup

Jul 20, 2017 - 7:17 PM

Mike Myers produces 16 points and 16 rebounds while Kiefer Ravena and RR Pogoy add 13 and 12 points respectively

BACK ON TRACK. Gilas Pilipinas overcomes more shooting woes to get back on the winning track. File photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

HIGHLIGHTS: Philippines vs Iraq – Jones Cup 2017

Jul 19, 2017 - 9:23 PM

Gilas Pilipinas looks to recover from its second defeat of the tournament when they take on Iraq at 5 pm on Thursday July 20 in Taipei

After the battle: Mosul looks to rise from the ashes

Jul 19, 2017 - 11:04 AM

The chaotic mess caused by the conflict that devastated Mosul must be cleared away first before rebuilding starts

This file photo taken on March 26, 2017 shows Iraqis cleaning up the rubble of destroyed buildings in the Mosul's al-Jadida area. Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP

#ThewRap: Things you need to know, July 10, 2017

Jul 10, 2017 - 10:11 AM

Hello Here are the stories you shouldn t miss this Monday

Iraqi PM hails victory over 'brutality and terrorism' in Mosul

Jul 10, 2017 - 8:02 AM

UPDATED Prime Minister Haider al Abadi hails the retaking of Mosul – where ISIS dealt Iraqi troops a devastating defeat three years ago – as a key moment in the war against the jihadists

SHATTERED CITY. A picture taken on July 9, 2017, shows a general view of the destruction in Mosul's Old City. Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP

Iraq declares victory in 'liberated' Mosul

Jul 09, 2017 - 8:56 PM

UPDATED But huge challenges lie ahead not just in rebuilding Mosul but also in tackling ISIS presence elsewhere

Iraqi federal police members flash the sign for victory as they celebrate in the Old City of Mosul on July 9, 2017 after the government's announcement of the "liberation" of the embattled city. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office said he was in "liberated" Mosul to congratulate "the heroic fighters and the Iraqi people on the achievement of the major victory". / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

Mosul victory imminent, U.S. says, as Iraqi forces celebrate

Jul 09, 2017 - 1:24 AM

UPDATED A final victory in Mosul would mark an epic milestone for the Iraqi security forces who had crumbled in the face of an ISIS onslaught across Iraq

Up to 20,000 civilians trapped in ISIS-held areas of Mosul – UN

Jul 06, 2017 - 3:36 PM

UPDATED UN: Our estimate at this stage is that in the final pockets of the Old City there could be as many as 15 000 civilians possibly even as high as 20 000

ESCAPE. Iraqis rest on their way, while fleeing from the Old City of Mosul on July 5, 2017, during the Iraqi government forces' offensive to retake the city from Islamic State (ISIS) group fighters. Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP

Tougher fighting, more suicide attacks as ISIS hits back in Mosul

Jul 04, 2017 - 7:53 AM

Iraqi forces are facing increasingly difficult fighting and a rising number of suicide attacks including some by female bombers in the final stages of the battle for Mosul

WAR-TORN. Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Services (CTS) members carry food as they walk in the Old City of Mosul on July 3, 2017 during an ongoing offensive to retake the city from Islamic State (ISIS) group fighters. Fadel Senna/AFP

ISIS steps up suicide attacks as Mosul battle nears end

Jul 03, 2017 - 1:05 AM

UPDATED More than 8 months after the operation to retake Mosul was launched ISIS has gone from fully controlling the city to holding a limited area on its western side

Members of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) cheer as they carry upside-down a black flag of the Islamic State (IS) group, with the destroyed Al-Nuri mosque seen in the background, in the Old City of Mosul on July 2, 2017, during the offensive to retake the city from IS fighters. Explosions on the evening of June 21, 2017 levelled the mosque where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi gave his first sermon as leader of the Islamic State group, along with its ancient minaret. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

U.S.-backed forces cut off last ISIS escape route from Raqa

Jun 30, 2017 - 2:36 PM

But ISIS fighters hit back with a counterattack that included several suicide bombings against the Syrian Democratic Forces an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters trying to seize control of the city

RAQA. A fighter from the Syriac Military Council (SMC), a small minority of Christian fighters supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces in the combat against the Islamic State (IS) group, walks in the suburb of al-Rumaniya on the western outskirts of Raqa on June 27, 2017, after the area was seized from the jihadists. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

Iraq military says it has retaken iconic Mosul mosque

Jun 29, 2017 - 7:33 PM

The announcement of the recapture of the mosque – which the Islamic State ISIS group blew up last week as Iraqi forces closed in – comes 3 years to the day after the jihadists declared a caliphate straddling Iraq and Syria

DESTROYED. This aerial view taken on June 21, 2017 and provided by Iraq's Joint Operation Command reportedly shows destruction inside Mosul's Nuri mosque compound. Joint Operation Command / Handout / AFP

Terrorists used water route to beat Philippine offensive – army

Jun 27, 2017 - 5:55 PM

Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo ar Herrera says the route was discovered following the arrest of a man who used a boat to smuggle ammunition into the battle zone and ferry wounded terrorists out

STANDING GUARD. Soldiers hold their position near the shoreline of Lake Lanao in Marawi City on Thursday, June 22,2017. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

At least 3 killed in Iraq suicide attacks – officials

Jun 24, 2017 - 4:04 PM

The attack is among the bloodiest since Iraqi forces retook the eastern side of Mosul in January as part of a massive offensive to wrest it back from ISIS

Australia sends spy planes to Mindanao

Jun 23, 2017 - 8:55 AM

Canberra which has an extensive defense cooperation program with Manila says two high tech AP 3C Orion aircraft will provide surveillance support to the Philippine military

MORE HELP. Marines from the 7th Marine Company as they operate against extremist Maute Group on Friday, June 9, 2017. File photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

Mosul minaret destruction 'deepens wounds' of Iraqis – UNESCO

Jun 22, 2017 - 8:26 PM

The head of the UN s cultural agency says This new destruction deepens the wounds of a society already affected by an unprecedented humanitarian tragedy

BOKOVA ON IRAQ DESTRUCTION. Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Irina Bokova speaks during a session of the Belt and Road Forum at the China National Convention Center (CNCC) in Beijing on May 14, 2017. File photo by Mark Schiefelbein/AFP

ISIS blows up Mosul mosque where Baghdadi became 'caliph'

Jun 22, 2017 - 7:23 AM

The destruction of two of Mosul s best known landmarks comes on the fourth day of an Iraqi offensive backed by the US led coalition to take the Old City

DESTROYED. This aerial view taken on June 21, 2017 and provided by Iraq's Joint Operation Command reportedly shows destruction inside Mosul's Nuri mosque compound. Joint Operation Command / Handout / AFP

Iraqi forces push into Mosul Old City, warn ISIS 'surrender or die'

Jun 20, 2017 - 11:19 AM

Commanders say the jihadists are putting up fierce resistance and there are fears for more than 100 000 civilians believed to be trapped in the maze of narrow streets

ATTACK. Smoke billows following a reported car bomb, as Iraqi forces advance towards the Old City of Mosul on June 19, 2017 during the ongoing offensive to retake the last district still held by the Islamic State (ISIS) group fighters. Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP

Iraqi forces launch assault on Mosul Old City

Jun 18, 2017 - 3:05 PM

4th UPDATE Military commanders say Islamic State jihadists are putting up fierce resistance

100,000 civilians held by ISIS in Mosul's Old City as human shields – UN

Jun 16, 2017 - 6:51 PM

The UN refugee agency s representative in Iraq Bruno Geddo says ISIS had been capturing civilians in battles outside of Mosul and had been forcing them into the Old City one of the last parts of the city in their grip

Tired, traumatized Mosul mothers unable to breastfeed

Jun 11, 2017 - 9:15 PM

Dire living conditions lack of proper food stress and depression affect the breastfeeding ability of mothers who fled the Iraqi city of Mosul

An Iraqi woman carries a child at the Hasan Sham camp for internally displaced people on June 10, 2017. Tired and traumatised, Iraqi mothers who fled Mosul struggle to breastfeed or buy baby formula milk for their babies. / AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED

The week in photos: June 3-9, 2017

Jun 10, 2017 - 11:51 AM

This week s selection of photo highlights here and around the world

CLASSES SUSPENDED. Philippine Army Scout Rangers crouch in a classroom during a mission to flush out Islamist militant snipers in Marawi on June 6, 2017. Photo by Noel Celis/AFP

U.S.-backed fighters thrust into ISIS bastion Raqa

Jun 06, 2017 - 5:25 PM

3rd UPDATE The attack on the northern city at the heart of ISIS Syrian territory has been 7 months in the making and is backed by air support military advisers and weapons deliveries from the US led coalition

Up to 100,000 children at risk in Iraq's Mosul – UNICEF

Jun 05, 2017 - 11:00 PM

An estimated 100 000 girls and boys remain in extremely dangerous conditions in the Old City and other areas of west Mosul Many are caught in the crossfire and hospitals and other medical facilities have reportedly come under attack UNICEF says in a statement

MOSUL'S OLD CITY. A member of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Services (CTS) secures a house near the old city in west Mosul on June 3, 2017, during the ongoing offensive to retake the city from Islamic State (ISIS) group fighters. Photo by Karim Sahib/AFP

Joint patrols off Mindanao to counter ISIS threats – Malaysia

Jun 03, 2017 - 4:24 PM

Malaysia the Philippines and Indonesia will launch joint patrols off the waters of Mindanao following the clash that erupted between the government and ISIS inspired Maute group in Marawi City

NAVAL ASSETS. A chopper lands on BRP Davao del Sur, a Multi-purpose Attack Craft (MPAC) in a demo during the anniversary of the Philippine Navy at Sasa Wharf in Davao City on May 31, 2017. Photo by Manman Dejeto/Rappler

Duterte to visit wake of Resorts World attack victims

Jun 03, 2017 - 7:12 AM

The President is expected to condole with the families of those who died from the attack in a Pasay City funeral home on Saturday night

MEMORIAL MASS. Relatives of victims of the casino attack ight candles and offered flowers during a mass at the Resorts World hotel in Pasay on June 2, 2017. Photo by Angie De Silva/Rappler

Iraqi hacker arrested for targeting security agency

Jun 02, 2017 - 11:42 PM

Not caring about the lives of the people is one of the most important reasons for the destruction of this country Hussein Mahdi writes on the agency s webpage

Baghdad blasts kill 27 as Iraq forces battle ISIS in Mosul

May 30, 2017 - 5:11 PM

UPDATED A suicide bomber blows up a vehicle near an ice cream shop and a car bomb explodes near one of Baghdad s main bridges

Iraq presses Mosul assault, UN warns of danger to civilians

May 30, 2017 - 11:33 AM

More than 7 months into the massive operation to recapture Mosul from ISIS Iraqi forces have retaken the city s east and large parts of its western side but the jihadists are putting up tough resistance in areas they still hold

WAR ZONE. An Iraqi boy rides a bicycle in west Mosul's al-Saha neighborhood on May 29, 2017 as smokes billows during ongoing battles by Iraqi forces to retake the city from Islamic State (ISIS) group fighters. Karim Sahib/AFP

Ramadan begins for world's Muslims, violently for some

May 27, 2017 - 11:26 PM

Although for many Ramadan is a time for families to gather and break the fast with an iftar meal at sunset and socialize this year it has been marked by violence

HOLY MONTH. Filipino muslims prepare for the holy month of Ramadan at the Quiapo Islamic Center on May 26, 2017. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler