ISIS Is Suffering More Than Just Territorial Losses

January 3rd 2016

Alex Mierjeski

The militant group Islamic State has suffered more than just territorial losses this year. In fact, in the past month, the group has lost 10 leaders and had its grip loosened on the strategically important Iraqi city of Ramadi, U.S. officials said this week.

"Over the past month, we've killed 10 ISIL leadership figures with targeted air strikes, including several external attack planners, some of whom are linked to the Paris attacks," said a spokesman for the U.S.-led military campaign against the terrorist group, which is also known as ISIL. "Others had designs on further attacking the West."

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U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren said that at least two Islamic State members with direct links to the November attacks in Paris — Abdul Qader Hakim and Charaffeal Mouadan — had been killed. Warren said that the latter had been actively "planning additional attacks againstthe West."

Defense officials said the successes were in part due to U.S.-led coalition airstrikes against the group. Here aretwocharts, the first showing thelocations of airstrikes in the Islamic State territory, which have spiked recently, and the second highlighting the frequency of operations in Syria and Iraq during the past 100 days.

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Warren also noted the "considerable success" of Iraqi troops' efforts in capturing Ramadi, a provincial capital city which fell under Islamic State control in May. West of Baghdad, Ramadi sits on a strategic highway running through Iraq, Syria, and Jordan.Warren said the successes were partly "attributable to the fact that the organization is losing its leadership," but was also "the result of many months' hard work."

Iraqi forces havebeen continually putting pressure on ISIS forces in Iraq's Sinjarprovince, andKurdish-Arabforces recentlyretookthe Tishreen hydroelectric dam from ISIS militants, which controlled it since November 2012.

Warren was careful to note, however, the long way ahead. Islamic State forces still control a number of key areas, like their stronghold city of Mosul, and Fallujah in Iraq, as well as the group's de facto capital in Syria, Raqqa.

"It's still got fangs," he said.

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