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BAGHDAD Bart Starr Youth Jersey , Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Saturday liberated Akashat area and cleared the surrounding desert land from Islamic State (IS) militants near the border with Syria, the Iraqi military said.

The Iraqi army, paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces and the border guards completely recaptured Akashat and reopened a nearby strategic road, Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Yarallah from the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a brief statement.

The operation is still underway to clear more areas from IS militants in Iraq's western province of Anbar, Yarallah said.

The latest advance is part of an operation launched in the early morning aimed at driving out IS militants from vast desert area to free the industrial village of Akashat and to clear the road to the village and the nearby border areas.

In a separate statement, the Hashd Shaabi said the troops liberated Akashat area after they destroyed IS defensive lines there, which was used by IS militants as a corridor to move between Syria and Iraq, leaving many IS militants killed and wounded in the area.

Akashat, the northwest of the city of Rutba, is located some 370 km west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. It has a population of around 5,000 and was built as an industrial village in 1985, attached to the local phosphate quarry and administered by the ministry of industry.

The phosphate production was seriously disrupted by the UN sanctions after the 1991 and the 2003 war. It currently stopped working at the presence of IS group.

The Iraqi forces announced a radio frequency to broadcast the news and instructions to the residents of the towns and villages in the area, JOC said in another statement.

The Iraqi aircraft also dropped thousands of leaflets in Akashat and the nearby cities of Aana, Rawa and al-Qaim near the border with Syria to inform the people that the liberation is soon and to tell IS militants to choose either to surrender and get a fair trial, or to get killed by the security forces.

Earlier, the Iraqi security forces dislodged IS militants from the key cities of Anbar province, including Ramadi and the nearby Fallujah, but the areas near the border with neighboring Syria, including Aana, Rawa and al-Qaim as well as the vast rural areas across the province are still under the control of the extremist militants.

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QINGDAO, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese research vessel Kexue successfully collected a deep-sea probe from the South China Sea Monday, which brought back 186 gigabytes of first-hand data.

The probe was put in a cold seep at a depth of 1,130 meters in the northern part of the South China Sea in early September last year.

Over the past year, it has collected 186 gigabytes of high quality data and video.

The data is important to analyze the evolution, transformation and ecological relations of the biotic community in the cold-seep ecosystem, according to scientists with the Institute of Oceanology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Kexue is currently carrying out a scientific expedition on cold seeps in the South China Sea.

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BOGOTA, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Mission in Colombia on Friday confirmed it has destroyed the arsenal that once belonged to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group.

The 8,994 pieces of weapons the rebels handed over as part of their peace agreement with the government are to be melted down to make three monuments to peace to be installed in Colombia, UN headquarters in New York, and Cuba, which hosted the negotiations.

"Today is a very important day: the process of laying down arms concludes," Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said at a ceremony in Bogota to mark this latest step in the peace process.

"They handed me the last weapon, an AR-15 assault rifle ... and this rifle is now totally useless, as are all the weapons that were handed over in this process," said Santos.

At the UN grounds, the statue is to be placed next to the Rose Garden, said Santos, noting "the United Nations was created precisely to put an end to wars in the world.

"What is happening in Colombia is of immense satisfaction for the United Nations, because in a way it is fulfilling its commitment," said Santos.

In November of 2016, following four years of talks, the government and rebel group signed an agreement to put an end to 50 years of fighting.

As part of the peace deal, the FARC renounced violence and founded a political party to work within the system for change.

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