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Islamic State Territory In Iraq And Syria Shrank 30 Percent In 2015

Islamic State has launched several offensives near the city of Haditha in northwest Iraq in the past 48 hours, the U.S.-led coalition against the militant group said on Tuesday.

Iraqi forces retook the centre of the western city of Ramadi last week, a victory that could help boost Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has been rebuilding the military after stunning defeats in the face of Islamic State.

ISIL’s offensive against Haditha came less than 10 days after the Iraqi military took over Anbar’s province’s capital of Ramadi – forcing its fighters to withdraw in one of the biggest advances for the army since the armed group took over large swaths of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

IS lost 40 percent of its territory in Iraq and 20 percent in Syria, and they now are in a “defensive crouch”, coalition spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said January 5 in Baghdad. Dozens more were killed and wounded in battles during the day and in air strikes on their positions and vehicles, the source said.

As promising as Ramadi seems, though, the news since Iraq’s government said it had retaken the city on December 28 includes ample reasons to be cautious.

The US-led coalition confirmed it provided support to the Iraqi forces defending Haditha, a strategic area where Sunni tribal fighters opposed to IS have resisted several previous waves of attacks. “Once our forces clear the city from IEDs we will certainly discover more mass graves“, he said.

Auto bomb attacks on the outskirts of the city of Haditha on Monday killed 11, just a week after IS was pushed out of Ramadi.

The terrorists detonated some 30 roadside bombs against the security forces near and in the city hospital compound, killing six soldiers and wounding 13 others, while destroying part of the hospital building.

“The area is only about two square kilometers”.

“Several families, including children, are besieged there”, he said.

Warren said at a recent briefing that months of daily strikes against the group, which the Iraqi government has lost half of the territory it took in 2014, are paying off.

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