Iraq Recaptures Over Quarter Of ISIS Territory

The Iraqi government has reclaimed more than a quarter of its territory earlier captured by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS, since the US-led coalition air campaign began in August 2014, a Pentagon spokesman says.

ISIS took over large swathes of northern and western Iraq in June 2014.

The announcement comes ahead of talks between Iraq’s prime minister and President Barack Obama in Washington.

Colonel Steve Warren of the U.S army, said it was too early to say the tide was turning, but that air strikes and Iraqi ground forces had “unquestionably inflicted some damage.”

Warren told a news conference in Washington on Monday that IS had lost approximately 25 per cent to 30 per cent of its territory in Iraq in the past eight months, which equated to 12,950 to 15,540 sq. km (5,000 to 6,000 sq. miles).

Coalition and government forces had “unquestionably inflicted some damage on ISIS and have pushed IS back in a somewhat meaningful way,” he said.

A Pentagon map showed the jihadist group had “lost large areas where it was once dominant” and the frontline had been pushed either west or south, depending on location, in the provinces of Irbil, Babil, Baghdad and Kirkuk, Col Warren added.

“Among other strategic infrastructure and sizable towns where [IS] has lost territory are Mosul Dam, Zummar and the vicinity of Sinjar Mountain.”

The corridor north of Tikrit had been “substantially retaken by friendly forces” and the city was expected to be cleared of militants “relatively soon,” he said.

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