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Jacquelyn Martin / AP

As part of the U.S.-backed effort to capture Mosul, ISIS surrendered Baaj in northwest Iraq this weekend, which U.S. and Iraqi sources believe was a hideout for ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, per Reuters.

Why it matters: This is another indication that ISIS's control of northern Iraq is dissipating (after losing Falluja, Tikrit, Ramadi, and most of Mosul). ISIS held Baaj since mid-2014 and Islamic militants controlled it for 14 years.

What it means: The fight against ISIS is going to shift to Syria; ISIS remains in only a couple urban centers in Iraq now, a spokesperson for the DOD confirmed to Axios.

Complicating factor: Iran is aiding in the campaign to gain land in northern Iraq to establish a military supply route for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Last month, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the U.S. "will never work with the Assad regime."

Go deeper

38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

McConnell drops filibuster demand, paving way for power-sharing deal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attend a joint session of Congress. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has abandoned his demand that Democrats state, in writing, that they would not abandon the legislative filibuster.

Between the lines: McConnell was never going to agree to a 50-50 power sharing deal without putting up a fight over keeping the 60-vote threshold. But the minority leader ultimately caved after it became clear that delaying the organizing resolution was no longer feasible.

2 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: Google won't donate to members of Congress who voted against election results

Sen. Ted Cruz led the group of Republicans who opposed certifying the results. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Minority Mitch still setting Senate agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chuck Schumer may be majority leader, yet in many ways, Mitch McConnell is still running the Senate show — and his counterpart is about done with it.

Why it matters: McConnell rolled over Democrats unapologetically, and kept tight control over his fellow Republicans, while in the majority. But he's showing equal skill as minority leader, using political jiujitsu to convert a perceived weakness into strength.