Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Conditions are set for the defeat of Islamic State militants in Iraq as Iraqi government troops successfully push in western Mosul, with senior extremist leaders killed, the Pentagon said late Wednesday.
“The ISIS-controlled area is “shrinking steadily with each passing day,” Air Force Col. John Dorrian, a spokesperson of the U.S.-led coalition against IS in Iraq and Syria, told Pentagon reporters in Baghdad. “Conditions have been set for ISIS’s defeat through their significant effort to reduce their command and control, their weapons and their financial resources,” Dorrian said.
“The main effort is to isolate the remaining enemy remnants in the west part of Mosul,” he said, noting that members of the extremist group will “either surrender or they’re going to be killed there.”
The United States has been backing Iraqi government forces with ground troops and advisers to drive Islamic State out of Mosul, the group’s largest bastion in Iraq which it took over in 2014. Iraqi forces recaptured the eastern region late January and launched on Sunday a new offensive to take over the west.
The coalition’s operations have also eliminated several IS leaders vital to the group’s combat efforts, according to Dorrian. “A coalition precision airstrike Feb. 13 in Mosul killed Haqi Ismail Hamid al Emri, a legacy al-Qaida in Iraq member who had a leadership role in ISIS security networks in Mosul, “Dorrian said.
“Precision strikes in January in Mosul killed Abu Abbas al Qurayshi, who coordinated the movement of vehicle bombs and suicide bombers inside Iraq; and Abdullah Yasin Sulaymani al Jaburi, who was responsible for anti-aircraft defense assets within Mosul.”
Pentagon officials have estimated the number of IS fighters in the western region by 3000.