dglobalnews.com Iraq says Islamic State has lost most of the land it seized
Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Global Media | By Cecelia Webb

Iraq says Islamic State has lost most of the land it seized

Iraq says Islamic State has lost most of the land it seized

Isis has lost more than three-quarters of the territory it seized when it swept across Iraq in the summer of 2014 - leaving in control of just seven per cent of the country the Iraqi military has said.

"As of March 31 (this year), they only held 6.8 percent of Iraqi territory", said Rasool, the spokesman of the Joint Operations Command coordinating the anti-ISIL effort.

Two other family members were injured in the strike, which targeted Al-Sikak district in western Mosul on Monday, Lieutenant Yahya Hamid told Anadolu Agency.

ISIS militants still control the towns of Qaim, Tal Afar and Hawija in Iraq, as well as Raqqa, their de-facto capital in Syria. Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January and launched the battle in the west in February.

"Their ability and capability became stronger and more developed" since the jihadists shocked Iraqi security and intelligence forces with their lightning offensive in June 2104, says Mr. Hashimi.

Daesh overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi have since retaken most of the territory they lost.

"Our troops are very cautious in their advance", he told reporters in Baghdad.

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Iraqi forces, backed by a USA -led coalition, began a massive operation to retake Mosul in October 2016. "The biggest challenge they face is the civilians".

"Military operations in Mosul's right back have been cautiously going on in order to prevent ISIL from using the civilians as human shields".

However, Rasool asserted that the USA and other Western countries have provided airstrikes, intelligence and equipment to the Iraqi forces which began their offensive in October to free the city of Mosul from the group. Col John Dorrian, a United States spokesman for the coalition, said the fight for western Mosul has been "difficult".

Colonel Dorrian said the fight in Western Mosul had been tough but said Islamic State fighters had no escape.

Victory against IS has come at a staggering cost, with some towns and neighborhoods reduced to rubble by airstrikes and shelling.

"Do not lose sight of the fact that even though the fighting is going to be very hard, this enemy is completely surrounded", Dorrian said.

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