The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group now controls less than 7 per cent of Iraq, down from the 40 per cent it held almost three years ago, a military spokesman said Tuesday.
The United States and other Western countries have assisted with air support, intelligence and equipment, Rasool said. The IS group still controls the large towns of Hawijah and Tal Afar as well as remote areas along the border with Syria in western Iraq.
In January, Iraqi forces drove ISIL terrorists from eastern Mosul as part of a wide-ranging campaign launched late previous year to retake the city, which ISIL overran in mid-2014.
An Iraqi special forces lieutenant takes a selfie with the plume from an airstrike, during heavy fighting in the Yarmouk district of western Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, April 11, 2017.
Months later, the Iraqi security forces backed by tens of thousands of Shiite and Sunni volunteers, known as Hashd Shaabi paramilitary units, and with the air support provided by worldwide coalition led by the United States, the troops managed to recapture most of Iraq's key cities, towns and villages from the IS group. Gen. Yahya Rasool told reporters.
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BAGHDAD: Daesh now controls less than 7 percent of Iraq, down from the 40 percent it held almost three years ago, a military spokesman said Tuesday. "The biggest challenge they face is the civilians".
Their troops are now trying to advance west, but have been bogged down by bloody close-quarters fighting through the maze-like streets of the old city. The U.S. spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, Col. John I. Dorrian, attended the press conference.
Dorrian said the fight in Western Mosul had been "difficult" but said ISIS militants had no escape.
Victory against Isis has come at a staggering cost, with some towns and neighbourhoods reduced to rubble by air strikes and shelling.
"Do not lose sight of the fact that even though the fighting is going to be very hard, this enemy is completely surrounded", he said. "They aren't going anywhere".
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