Pentagon says ISIS is losing territory in Iraq

Pentagon says ISIS is losing territory in Iraq
© Getty Images

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has lost control of territory in Iraq since August while gaining some ground in Syria, the Pentagon said Monday.

ISIS has lost control of about 25 to 30 percent of territory in central and northern Iraq, which is equal to about 5,000 to 6,000 square miles, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters Monday. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"ISIL is no longer the dominant force in roughly 25 to 30 percent of the populated areas of Iraq where it once had complete freedom of movement," Warren said, using a different acronym for ISIS. 

However, Warren said some of that area is still "contested," such as Tikrit, where the U.S.-led coalition is assisting Iraqi security forces in an offensive that began last month. 

In Syria, Warren said except for the Kurdish town of Kobani, ISIS has maintained its area of influence and even gained some ground near Damascus, Homs, and a foothold in the Yarmouk refugee camp south of Damascus.  

Warren pushed back against the notion that ISIS is simply making a strategic retreat into Syria. 

"This is offensive pressure being placed on ISIL, forcing them out of areas," he said. 

Warren said it was too early to say the tide of battle was turning in Iraq, and did not say how much area ISIS still controls. He did release a map showing areas where ISIS is still the dominant group.  

"The combination of coalition airpower and Iraqi ground forces are having an effect on the enemy's ability to hold territory and have freedom of movement," he said. 

The U.S.-led coalition against ISIS is now in its ninth month, with a daily cost of $8.5 million and total cost of $1.83 billion as of Mar. 12. The coalition has hit about 5,800 ISIS targets. 

There are approximately 3,040 U.S. forces in Iraq as of Apr. 12, who are advising and training Iraqi security forces, and providing security, intelligence and logistical support.