The spokesman for U.S. forces operating in Iraq claimed Friday that the Islamic State has been losing ground nearly continuously for the better part of a year.
U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren’s comments came during a video press briefing, during which he updated reporters on the status of Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led mission against ISIS.
“They have not gained an inch in Iraq,” said Warren, regarding the status of ISIS territory. Warren reiterated his comments over Twitter.
— COL Steve Warren (@OIRSpox) May 13, 2016
Despite the recent successes of the anti-ISIS coalition, Warren noted that the terrorist group has shown some resiliency, particularly in their ability to conduct bombing attacks — like the one in Baghdad Wednesday that killed more than 90 people. He noted that coalition forces have recognized ISIS’ capabilities, and do not underestimate their continued threat.
Department of Defense estimates claim that ISIS has lost approximately 40 percent of its territory in Iraq and 10 percent in Syria. Warren noted that the situation in Syria is more complicated than Iraq, with ground having been gained by U.S. partners one day and lost the next.
As ISIS has lost territory, it has also become considerably more violent. The Wednesday bombing was preceded by another in April that killed 43. The perpetrator of the bombing was later found to be a teenage boy. Security concerns in the Iraqi capital have required around half of Iraqi Security Forces available to be stationed in Baghdad, according to Warren.
The tumultuous political situation in Iraq also poses a potential threat to the ISIS fight. Forces loyal to popular Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stormed Baghdad’s parliament earlier this month, demanding reforms. The mob also made a push into Baghdad’s Green Zone, the area where many government buildings and foreign embassies are located.
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