By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, December 4, 2015 — Increased simultaneous pressure by U.S.-led coalition and indigenous force operations is creating a cumulative operational weakening of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, U.S. Central Command spokesman Air Force Col. Pat Ryder said today.
Speaking to reporters here via teleconference, Ryder said forces in Iraq and Syria continue to break down ISIL and cut off its resources in areas where the coalition enables local forces’ operations on the ground in both countries.
ISIL Losing Key Areas
ISIL has lost key areas in Iraq, despite some attempts at counter attacks from the extremist organization, he said. “[They have] not been able to gain any “significant territory,” since the group occupied Ramadi in late April, and Iraqi security forces keep ISIL largely on the defensive, the colonel said.
Other areas where anti-ISIL and coalition forces are expanding control include Hawl, Beiji and its oil refinery, he said, adding that the enemy’s supply route in Sinjar has also been cut and their logistics constricted.
Indigenous forces and the coalition have also gained large swaths of territory in northern Syria along the border with Turkey, which has been secured from ISIL’s use, he said.
The simultaneous anti-ISIL efforts eliminated enemy safe havens and cut off some of the organization’s resources, such as supplies, money, weapons and fighters to replenish those it lost, Ryder said. “They are lowering their conscription and are [recruiting] kids as young as 10,” he said.
While operating in a weakened state, ISIL propagandists continue to give the “appearance of success, which is not backed by the facts on the ground in Iraq and Syria,” the colonel said.
Coalition Maintains Strength
The international coalition remains unified and strong, he added.
“The coalition remains focused on ISIL’s critical capabilities, disrupting [its] ability to regenerate, and isolating key ISIL geographic and functional nodes so they can no longer sustain themselves or function as a cohesive organization,” Ryder said.
The coalition continues to grow in size and capabilities, he explained, more than a year into this multiyear campaign. The colonel credited the United Kingdom and Germany -- which he called key coalition partners -- for recently stepping up their military capabilities against ISIL.
“We’re encouraged by the U.K.’s decision yesterday to increase their support to the coalition,” he said. “Likewise, we welcome Germany’s decision to expand its contributions -- yet another signal of Germany’s commitment to the counter-ISIL campaign, and a clear signal to ISIL it will find no safe havens."