Baghdad, (IINA) - ISIS now controls less than 7 percent of Iraq, down from the 40 percent it held nearly three years ago, a military spokesman said Tuesday.
ISIS controlled 40 percent of Iraqi land in 2014, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool told reporters. As of March 31 (this year), they only held 6.8 percent of Iraqi territory, said Rasool, the spokesman of the Joint Operations Command.
Speaking at the same press conference, the spokesman for the United States-led coalition vowed that Iraq would not be abandoned after the recapture of Mosul. Once that task is accomplished, the coalition will be here to support our Iraqi partners as they eliminate ISIS from every corner of Iraq, Col. John Dorrian said.
Though the fighting is going to be very hard... this enemy is completely surrounded. They aren't going anywhere � they will be defeated, and the people of Mosul will be free, he said.
Every strike that we conduct, we conduct using precision-guided munitions. Every strike that we conduct is coordinated directly with the Iraqi security forces, Dorrian said.
Talking about the ISIS-held Syrian city of Raqqa, Dorrian said: Ultimately we're isolating Raqqa, and we are going to, at a time that our partners choose, move in and liberate that city.
Dorrian said the operation to liberate Raqqa is the equivalent in Syria of what is being done to eliminate the enemy in the Iraqi city of Mosul.
Meanwhile, US-backed forces advanced to within 2 km of a key stronghold near Raqqa, and a counter-attack by the militants was repulsed, officials said.
Separately, Russia's Defense Ministry said two Russian officers have been killed and one gravely wounded in a mortar attack in Syria. The ministry did not specify when or where the attack took place.
Source: International Islamic News Agency