IS now controls less than seven percent of Iraq: army

IS now controls less than seven percent of Iraq: army

The Islamic State group has steadily lost ground in Iraq and now controls less than seven percent of the country's land area, an Iraqi military spokesman said.

"Daesh controlled 40 per cent of Iraqi land" in 2014, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, the spokesman of the Joint Operations Command coordinating the anti-ISIS effort, told reporters.

That area has been whittled down to about 6.8 percent of Iraqi territory after extensive military operations, which are still going on in the city of Mosul, he said.

Over the past nearly two years, Daesh has been losing ground steadily, and thus increased its acts of violence in revenge for the blows it has been suffering at the hand of Iraqi forces, particularly in the northern city of Mosul.

Rasool says more than half of western Mosul has been retaken from the militants.

The coalition battling Islamic State is made up of tens of thousands of members of the Iraqi security forces, led by the army, and thousands of Shi'ite volunteers, many from militia groups, commonly referred to as the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).

The extremist group has also lost ground in Syria, and is now fighting US-backed forces near Raqqa, the de facto capital of its self-styled "Caliphate".

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The battles in Iraq's second largest city of Mosul brought the eastern side of Mosul, locally known as left bank of Tigris River, under the control of Iraqi forces in January, but the push in western side of the city with its narrow streets and heavily populated neighborhood slowed down the troops, according to Rasool.

Speaking at the same press conference in Baghdad on Tuesday, the spokesman for the US-led coalition vowed that Iraq would not be abandoned after the recapture of Mosul.

"Do not lose sight of the fact that even though the fighting is going to be very hard, this enemy is completely surrounded", Dorrian said. "They aren't going anywhere - they will be defeated and the people of Mosul will be free", he said.

Last month, a suspected coalition airstrike killed scores and injured hundreds in Mosul's western side.

"Every strike that we conduct, we conduct using precision-guided munitions".

"We are very careful". "The biggest challenge they face is the civilians".

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