ISIS Lost 40 Percent of Territory in Iraq, 20 Percent in Syria: Coalition Spokesman

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By Reuters

BAGHDAD — ISIS has lost an estimated 40 percent of the territory it once held in Iraq and 20 percent in Syria, the U.S.-led coalition fighting the group said Tuesday.

There was no immediate comment from ISIS on the estimates from the coalition, which is made up of countries including Britain, France and Jordan that have been bombing the extremists' positions.

"We believe in Iraq it's about 40 percent ... And Syria, harder to get a good number, we think it's around 20," coalition spokesman U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren told a press briefing in Baghdad.

"Taking together Iraq and Syria .. they lost 30 percent of the territory they once held," he said.

ISIS swept through a third of Iraq in 2014, seizing Mosul, the largest city in the north, and reaching the vicinity of Baghdad.

Counter-offensives by Iraqi and Kurdish armed forces, supported by the U.S.-led coalition, and by Iran-backed Shiite militias have forced ISIS out of several cities — including Tikrit, north of Baghdad, and Ramadi, to the west last month.

In Syria, ISIS is fighting the army of President Bashar Assad and other rebel groups opposed to his rule.

It is facing air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition and by Russia which has sent warplanes to support its ally, the Syrian government. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi last month said 2016 will be the year of "final victory" on the hard-line group.