Al-Qaeda Ready to Gain as Islamic State Disintegrates

Fighters from the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation units), backing the Iraqi forces, stand in front of a mural depicting the emblem of the Islamic State (IS) group as troops advance through Hawija on October 5, 2017, after retaking the city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters. Iraqi forces retook one of the Islamic State group's last two enclaves in the country on October 5, overrunning the longtime insurgent bastion of Hawija after a two-week offensive. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIRUT — Over several nights in September, some 10,000 men, women and children fled areas under Islamic State control, hurrying through fields in northern Syria and risking fire from government troops to reach a province held by an al-Qaeda-linked group.

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