The terrorist ISIS group is on the verge of lasting defeat as its last strongholds are fast crumble, the U.S. Department of Defence has said.
“Despite a long road ahead for the U.S.-led coalition in its fight to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the enemy is being degraded by every measure and is on a trajectory to lasting defeat.
“In Iraq, with eastern Mosul liberated and the fight to retake western Mosul ongoing, liberating the city from ISIS’ control is an important step in defeating the enemy.
“Without Mosul from which to recruit, train and plan attacks, and from which to project atrocities into Europe and the U.S. homeland, the coalition has seen ISIS’ flow of foreign fighters and external support diminish significantly,” the Department said.
It said by denying the group unfettered access to Mosul, its population and Iraq’s natural gas and oil revenue, ISIS’s ability to raise money and sustain its forces has been systemically reduced.
“Retaking Mosul will also be a symbolic victory after ISIS announced the birth of its ‘phony’ caliphate from Mosul’s great mosque in 2014, it said, noting that without a power base in Iraq, ISIS’ claims of legitimacy as a credible, alternative state are being exposed as a fallacy.”
It said progress in Syria to liberate key cities from the enemy was evident, citing the recent liberation of Bab, which was the last major city ISIS held west of its proclaimed capital of Raqqa.
Bab lies at the intersection of four major Syrian cities, and its gain by Syrian Democratic Forces severed key ISIS logistical corridors and restricted the enemy’s ability to move fighters and essential equipment, it said.
The Department noted that ISIS also lost the ancient Roman city of Palmyra, which was the only territorial expansion ISIS had made since 2015.
Another threat to ISIS lies in the remnants of its caliphate that’s centered around the Euphrates River between Syria and Iraq, it said, noting that ISIS has limited ability to cross the river and has been driven to use ferry systems to move from one river bank to the other.
It added that ISIS cannot transit the river unimpeded, saying ISIS has lost a ‘host’ of high-level leaders after many were killed and the remaining fled.
“And as mid-level operational commanders are killed, they are being replaced by inexperienced fighters who are not able, in many cases, to marshal ISIS’ dwindling forces. ISIS has also been observed turning on itself.”
It said U.S. officials have seen reports of Iraqi fighters killing foreign fighters and rejecting the preferential treatment they were sometimes given.
“There are also indications of intensified hunts for spies within the organisation when ISIS suspects one of its own is providing targeting information to coalition forces.
“The enemy is not a unified force; ISIS is being beaten back in the face of increasing pressure and is struggling to maintain power with higher taxes, sagging morale, increasing recruitment of children and the elderly, and increased executions.
“Those are all indications of a desperate organisation falling under sustained pressure,” the statement said