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This map shows the fading fortunes of the Islamic State as it has been beaten back on multiple fronts over the past two years. It's based on data collected by analysts at IHS Markit Conflict Monitor, a service that gathers open-source intelligence on the fighting in Syria and Iraq.

Expand chart

The big picture: The Islamic State is losing ground fast, and a final showdown appears to be on the horizon in Syria's Deir al-Zour region, where analysts at IHS Markit have noted a significant uptick in fighting. Axios' Shannon Vavra has more on that upcoming showdown here.

Mosul: The Islamic State made headlines around the world after capturing Mosul — Iraq's second largest city — in June 2014. Since then, though, it has been beaten back into the city's historic center and seen its numbers dwindle after a months-long offensive. The Department of Defense tells Axios that 96 percent of the city has been reclaimed.

Raqqa: Once considered the capital of the self-proclaimed caliphate, this city is under siege by U.S.-backed forces. However, Human rights groups have raised alarms about the effects of heavy coalition bombing.

Deir al-Zour: With Mosul and Raqqa on the verge of falling, the Islamic State's leaders have withdrawn into this Syrian border region, where they could very likely make their last stand.

Go deeper

Bipartisan group of senators seeks coronavirus stimulus deal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

At least eight Republican and Democratic senators have formed an informal working group aimed at securing new coronavirus spending during the lame-duck session, a move favored by President-elect Biden, two sources familiar with the group tell Axios.

Why it matters: It may be the most significant bipartisan step toward COVID relief in months.

FCC chairman to depart in January

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Ajit Pai will leave his post as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Jan. 20, the agency said today.

Why it matters: Pai's Inauguration Day departure is in keeping with agency tradition, and could set up the Biden administration with a 2-1 Democratic majority at the FCC if the Senate fails to confirm another Trump nominee during the lame-duck period.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

GM's shrinking deal with Nikola

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

General Motors will no longer take an equity stake in Nikola Corp. or build its pickup truck, under a revised deal that still envisions GM as a key tech supplier for Nikola's planned line of electric and fuel cell heavy trucks.

Driving the news: The revised agreement Monday is smaller in scope than a draft partnership rolled out in September that had included a $2 billion stake in the startup and an agreement to build its Badger pickup.