A top U.S. commander has claimed the military campaigns in Iraq and Syria have cut the number of Daesh militants by 45,000, reducing the total number of the terrorist fighters to as few as 15,000.
MacFarland said estimates for the overall remaining strength of IS vary from about 15,000 to 30,000 but he noted the jihadists are having increasing difficulties replenishing their ranks. “I don’t they would have made that mistake a year ago”, MacFarland said. “When you add that to the 20,000 estimated killed prior to our arrival, that’s 45,000 enemies taken off the battlefield”, MacFarland told reporters at a news briefing.
Kurdish peshmerga fighters are actively engaged in the fight against Islamic State, the ultra-hardline Sunni militants who proclaimed a “caliphate” over parts of Iraq and Syria.
Gen. Sean McFarland said on Wednesday that soon ISIS will be finished in the Syrian border city of Manbij, and that this will set the stage for taking Raqqa [the de facto capital of the Islamic State], reported the official website of the US Department of Defence.
The U.S. and Iraqi forces have established a base of operations south of Mosul, a northern city of about one million people.
These men will be key to holding the gains and we’ve already achieved in protecting these newly liberated Iraqis, soon to be joined by over a million additional citizens of Mosul, ” MacFarland said. Once it is recaptured, the enemy in Iraq will be reduced to scattered pockets of resistance and that is now our focus.
In total, 22 airstrikes using bombers, attack fighters, and remotely piloted aircraft were coordinated against ISIS, the militant group also known as the Islamic State, ISIL, or Daesh.
The US troops will include engineers, logistics personnel, security, and communications forces. Some teams of US forces have been in and out of the base to evaluate it and the work that must be done, but officials say large numbers of troops have not yet arrived.
Despite his optimism over the course of the fighting against the group, MacFarland says DAESH is still a threat: “Military success in Iraq and Syria will not necessarily mean the end of DAESH”. For the protection of AP and its licensors, content may not be copied, altered or redistributed in any form. Please see our terms of service for more information.