World U.S.-Led Forces Clear ISIS From Much of Iraq

00:45  13 october  2017
00:45  13 october  2017 Source:   U.S. News & World Report

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DAMASCUS – As the drive to push ISIS out of its remaining territories in Syria and Iraq rapidly advances, the U . S . and its allied forces have Until, of course, U . S .- led forces entrenched themselves in al-Tanaf and blocked that path. The Syrians cleared most of the highway this year, but

The rumors were untrue, but they were the first clear evidence that the U . S .- led campaign against ISIS has actually started to work. In the province of Salahuddin to the north of Baghdad, Iraqi forces and affiliated militias regained control of most of the town of Baiji, where Iraq 's largest oil refinery is located.

Members of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) paramilitaries flash the victory gesture as they ride atop an infantry-fighting vehicle during the advance towards villages between the northern Iraqi cities of Hawija and Kirkuk on October 6, 2017, after the Iraqi forces retook Hawija from Islamic State (IS) group fighters a day before.: Members of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitaries advance toward villages between Hawija and Kirkuk on Oct. 6, 2017, after the Iraqi forces retook Hawija from Islamic State group fighters a day before.© (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images) Members of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitaries advance toward villages between Hawija and Kirkuk on Oct. 6, 2017, after the Iraqi forces retook Hawija from Islamic State group fighters a day before.

At least 95 percent of the territory in Iraq that was previously controlled by Islamic State group forces has been cleared and some have even mentioned surrender as Iraqi Security Forces and U.S.-led coalition forces move closer to the complete liberation of the country, a U.S. commanding general in Iraq said Thursday.

Speaking from Baghdad via video conference, Lt. Gen. Robert White, a commanding general in Iraq for the operation to fight the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, said that the terrorist group's forces are losing ground and even asking for surrender, which is "something you would not have seen a year ago."

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Now, with Iraqi forces stalled in their first major counterattack against ISIS , the U . S . is stepping in to break the stalemate. It’s too early to say where this Iraq war will lead , but glance backward and the direction appears clear : toward a larger and more expansive military commitment.

The rumors were untrue, but they were the first clear evidence that the U . S .- led campaign against ISIS has actually started to work. In the province of Salahuddin to the north of Baghdad, Iraqi forces and affiliated militias regained control of most of the town of Baiji, where Iraq ’s largest oil refinery is located.

"Daesh is fighting for survival," said White, using an Arabic name for the Islamic State group. "They are losing, they know they're losing, and there's no way out."

According to the Combined Joint Task Force, the ISF liberated Hawija on Oct. 5 and more than 1,000 terrorists surrendered during the 14-day operation. More than 4 million Iraqis have been liberated across the country and, along with Mosul and Tal Afar, Hawija is the third major city to be liberated from ISIS control.

"The physical caliphate has been destroyed" and "it will be finished off in another part of the world here shortly," White said.

A number of remaining Islamic State group forces have been driven to the Euphrates River Valley in northern Iraq. When questioned about Islamic State group members crossing the border into Syria, White said that the Iraqi government has no intention of driving ISIS members out of Iraq and into Syria.

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In Iraq , ISIS has captured the major cities of Mosul and Ramadi despite 10 months of U . S .- led air attacks and an ongoing ground In Syria, ISIS captured the ancient city of Palmyra after defeating the Syrian government forces . The city is one of the most important archeological sites in the Middle East.

More than a year after the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS , conducted a blitzkrieg takeover of Iraqi and Syrian territory, the international campaign to degrade and defeat This progress stands in contrast with the agonizingly slow U . S .- led program to train and equip a new Syrian force to fight ISIS .

"Their intent is to kill them or capture them," said White.

As the number of Islamic State group forces gets smaller, White said, there are plans for coalition forces to remain in Iraq once the country is completely liberated and its borders are secure in order to provide assistance to the ISF and continue training military and police forces.

"There is an important role for the coalition" in the post-liberation Iraq, he said.

Any recommendations to stay will have to first be approved by the Iraqi government.

Operations to fight the terrorist group by coalition forces in Iraq began in October 2014. The U.S.-led coalition is made up of 23 countries.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

Iraq forces push into IS bastion of Hawija: commander .
Iraqi forces pushed into the Islamic State group bastion of Hawija on Wednesday, stepping up their assault against one the jihadists' last enclaves in the country, the operation's commander said."With God's help, the army, the federal police and the rapid response force began a major operation on Wednesday to liberate the centre of Hawija and the neighbouring town of Riyadh," Lieutenant General Abdel Amir Yarallah said in a statement.

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