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Pentagon: Anti ISIS-forces retake 'key terrain' in Syria

Pentagon: Anti ISIS-forces retake 'key terrain' in Syria

The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) announced this week that anti-ISIS fighters supported by coalition airstrikes have taken back key terrain in Syria.  

The key terrain retaken is in northeast Syria, near Tal Hamis, according to a statement by the Combined Joint Task Force -- Operation Inherent Resolve. 

The announcement on Tuesday marks the second time the coalition has officially declared territory retaken inside Syria, after the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters succeeded in retaking Kobani in January. 

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It also comes after the coalition said Iraqi forces succeeded in retaking Al Baghdadi and nearby areas in Iraq last week, adding to a growing narrative that ISIS's momentum has been stopped. 

Task force officials did not identify who the anti-ISIS fighters were, but said they overcame ISIS "resistance" near Tal Hamis and denied ISIS its freedom of maneuver in the area. 

The two-week that ended on March 7 also denied ISIS access to primary travel routes for its fighters and equipment into Iraq, to Tal Afar and Mosul, officials said. 

Anti-ISIS fighters were able to seize critical portions of a key ISIS communications and supply line into Iraq, known as Route 47, they said. 

In addition, other key terrain was seized in the Jazera region and 94 nearby villages were liberated, the statement said. 

"This operation demonstrated the ability of anti-ISIL forces to further degrade Daesh influence in this region," said Lt. Gen. James L. Terry, Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve commander.  

"The determination of these anti-ISIL forces and our precision airstrikes enabled us to deny Daesh this key terrain in Syria," Terry said. 

Officials said the task force will continue to support anti-ISIS fighters, and that those fighters now hold the retaken territories and "are postured to retake additional territory" from ISIS in the region.