Wednesday, April 12, 2017
The IE Lost The Vast Majority Of The Conquered Regions, According To Iraq
In Mosul, its last major bastion in the country, the ultraradical group is currently defending the remaining areas still under its control in the west of the city, where Iraqi forces are trying to drive it away with the support of the international coalition commanded by the United States.
The IA "controlled 40% of Iraqi territory" in 2014, told reporters General Yahya Rassoul, spokesman for Joint Operations Command, a structure coordinating anti-Jihadist struggle.
"As of 31 March (2017), it controlled only 6.8%," he added at a press conference in Baghdad.
In June 2014, the jihadists launched a dazzling offensive in which they conquered a good part of the north, including Mosul, the second largest city in the country, and in the west of the country, mainly in the Sunni regions.
In the past two years, the IE has lost the major cities of Falluja and Ramadi, west of Baghdad, to the benefit of Iraqi forces and today the battle is concentrated in the northern city of Mosul, theater since October Of a vast offensive by the government troops.
After recapturing the eastern part of the city in late January, government forces are now fighting in western Mosul, with fighting concentrating on the Old City, a maze of densely populated streets.
While more than 200,000 people have already fled Mosul-West, the US military estimates that the number of jihadists in the city has risen from 2,000 to less than a thousand.
- 'Completely encircled' -
A total reconquest of Mosul, de facto capital of the "caliphate" proclaimed in 2014 by the EI, would put an end to the jihadist dream of establishing a state straddling Iraq and Syria.
The coalition led by the United States promised that Iraq would not be abandoned to its fate after the reconquest of Mosul.
"Once this is accomplished, the coalition will be here to support our Iraqi partners as they eliminate the IA from every corner of Iraq," said Col. John Dorrian, a coalition spokesman. 'Expressed at the same press conference in Baghdad.
"Even if the fight is very tough ... this enemy is completely surrounded, they will not go anywhere, they will be defeated and the people of Mosul will be liberated," he said.
Colonel Dorrian also wanted reassurance after the coalition was criticized following an air raid killing a large number of civilians last month in Mosul-West.
The coalition subsequently claimed that the bombing could have been carried out by its forces.
"Every raid we conduct is carried out using precision-guided munitions, every raid we conduct is directly coordinated with the Iraqi security forces," Colonel Dorrian said.
"We are very careful, we never target civilians," he insisted.
But even if the members of the IA are targeted, the fact that they are operating in densely populated areas poses a risk to the civilian population.
"We are very careful, we never aim for civilians, we never reject (say) anyone who says we are doing it ... We are only targeting Daech," Colonel Dorrian said. Acronym in Arabic of the IE.
The EI still controls the large localities of Hawijah (south of Mosul) and Tal Afar (west of Mosul), as well as areas along the Syrian border in western Iraq.
In neighboring Syria, the jihadist group controls the provincial capital of Raqa and other regions.