IS Controls Less Than 7 Percent of Iraq

IS Controls Less Than 7 Percent of IraqIS Controls Less Than 7 Percent of Iraq

The self-styled Islamic State terrorist group now controls less than 7% of Iraq, down from the 40% it held nearly three years ago, a military spokesman said on Tuesday.

“IS controlled 40% of Iraqi land” in 2014, Brigadier-General Yahya Rasool told reporters.

“As of March 31, they only held 6.8% of Iraqi territory,” said Rasool, the spokesman of the Joint Operations Command coordinating the operation, Gulf News reported.

Various members of the forces, Iraqi and foreign, battling the militants have disagreed in the past on control of territory figures but IS has been losing ground steadily over the past two years.

Iraqi forces with the backing of the US-led coalition, which has thousands of forces deployed in Iraq and carries out daily airstrikes, launched a major offensive to retake Mosul in October 2016.

Speaking at the same press conference in Baghdad on Tuesday, the spokesman for the US-led coalition vowed that Iraq would not be abandoned after the recapture of Mosul.

“Once that task is accomplished, the coalition will be here to support our Iraqi partners as they eliminate IS from every corner of Iraq,” Colonel John Dorrian said.

The coalition has come under criticism following the deaths last month in west Mosul of scores of civilians in an airstrike it admitted may have been its own.

“Every strike that we conduct, we conduct using precision-guided munitions. Every strike that we conduct is coordinated directly with the Iraqi security forces,” he said.

IS still controls the large towns of Hawijah and Tal Afar as well as remote areas along the border with Syria in western Iraq. It also holds the city of Raqqah and other areas in neighboring Syria.

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