U.S. airstrikes on Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria are down nearly 60 percent as the terrorist group’s territorial losses accelerate, Air Force Brig. Gen. Andrew A. Croft told Pentagon reporters Tuesday.
“That’s indicative of the fact that ISIS is collapsing, not only as a physical caliphate but also in ownership of land,” Croft explained, adding: “They only now control about 4 or 5 percent of the original area they covered, so the number of targets has dropped dramatically in the last month.”
Croft cautioned that U.S. operations against the terrorist group will continue for some time as ISIS morphs into an insurgent like force that is likely to try to exploit desert areas in Iraq and Syria. “We will see a continued requirement for aircraft such as our remotely piloted aircraft,” he added.
No current major U.S. backed ground operation against ISIS is currently underway. U.S. backed Syrian Democratic Forces recently retook the group’s terrorist capital of Raqqa and the U.S. backed Iraqi Security Forces retook the city of Mosul in late July.
ISIS remains largely contained in desert regions of Iraq and Syria where they are likely to battle on as an insurgent force for some time. U.S. military officials believe thousands of fighters remain loyal to the group in the region.
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