By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, April 13, 2015 – Some 25 percent to 30 percent of Iraqi territory has been taken back from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorist group control by coalition forces, Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters today.
Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, showed reporters a color-coded map of key populated sites in northern and central Iraq where ISIL was once the dominant force before Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve pushed the terrorists back.
Overall, he said, the map shows how “the combination of coalition air power and Iraqi ground forces are having an effect on the enemy’s ability to hold territory and to have freedom of maneuver,” he said.
“This equates to approximately 5,000 square miles to 6,000 square miles [of Iraq territory] since the peak of [ISIL] territorial influence in Iraq in August 2014,” Warren noted. “ISIL has lost large areas where it was once dominant.”
Essentially, he added, the ISIL front line has been pushed either west or south, depending on location, he said, in integral areas such as Erbil, Babil, Baghdad and the Kirkuk governances.
Coalition Maintains Pressure on ISIL
“Among other strategic infrastructure and sizeable towns where ISIL has lost territory are Mosul Dam, Zummar and the vicinity of Sinjar Mountain,” Warren said.
The corridor north of Tikrit has been “substantially retaken by friendly forces,” Warren said. With offensive pressure on ISIL, he said he expects Tikrit also will be cleared from ISIL “relatively soon.”
Beiji and a nearby oil refinery is still contested, and will continue to be the focus of airstrikes, he said.
While it is too early to say the tide of the battle is turning in Iraq, Iraqi security forces, along with coalition air power, “have unquestionably inflicted some damage on ISIL and have pushed ISIL back in a somewhat meaningful way,” Warren said.