ISIS 'Lost a Quarter of its Territory in Iraq'

US military claims air campaign has helped Iraqi ground forces push back Islamic State; group still strong in Syria.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

ISIS fighters parade in Raqqa, Syria
ISIS fighters parade in Raqqa, Syria

The Islamic State group has lost control of "25 to 30" percent of the territory it holds in Iraq after coalition air strikes and an Iraqi offensive, the Pentagon said Monday.  

The Islamist group took control of large swathes of the north and western parts of the country months ago after an offensive and the collapse of Iraqi military units.

Following months of an air campaign by a US-led coalition and a rallying of Iraqi forces - including both the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shia Islamist militias - ISIS's grip on parts of the country is fading, the Pentagon claims.

"ISIL is now being slowly pushed back," said Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren, using another acronym for ISIS.

"Iraqi security forces and coalition airpower have unquestionably inflicted some damage on ISIL," he said.  

The lost territory amounts to some 13,000 to 17,000 square kilometers (5,000 to 6,500 square miles), Warren said.  

A much touted Iraqi offensive has been announced targeting the city of Mosul.

Since August, coalition aircraft have conducted airstrikes on 3,244 ISIS targets, 1,879 in Iraq and 1,365 in Syria. The US has carried out about 80 percent of the strikes, according to Pentagon data.

In Syria, ISIS has maintained its influence on the ground, recently losing areas around Kobane, but gaining ground around Homs and Damascus and in the Yarmouk refugee camp, Warren said.

US President Barack Obama will meet Tuesday at the White House with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

AFP contributed to this report.