ISIS’s stronghold in Mosul, Iraq, has been brought to its knees.
Iraqi Security forces’ accomplishment is “hugely significant against a very brutal and cruel enemy,” said New Zealand Army Brigadier Hugh McAslan.
McAslan is the deputy commanding general for land forces in Operation Inherent Resolve. During an interview with Business Insider he stated ISIS holds on to a very small portion of land now; to what would equal only a few football fields.
“In the last couple of weeks in particular, [Iraqi security forces] have made great progress in what has been a very difficult fight, in very difficult terrain,” McAslan said from Baghdad in a Skype interview with Business Insider.
“Certainly as we come into these last few neighborhoods, it’s very clear to us ISIS is a desperate and degraded enemy.”
According to McAslan, only about 15 acres, or approximately 3% of Mosul, remains in the hands of ISIS forces as the Iraqi military moves further into the western part of the city.
Although ISIS still has small pockets of terrain in Iraqi cities such as Hawija, Tal Afar, and Al Qaim, McAslan is confident that once the city is recaptured, other cities will continue to fall.
Despite the coalition’s success, that last 3% will not come easy despite only a “couple of hundred” ISIS fighters remaining to put up a fight.
Some reports suggest that ISIS has been forcing civilians to stay in their homes and risk death as the battle rages around them, instead of allowing them to escape.
The terror group has also, according to McAslan, herded civilians into buildings, used human shields, and forced children to fight.
Outside of Mosul, the coalition-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have continued to push further into Raqqa, Syria, the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State. The coalition estimates there are approximately 3,000 to 4,000 fighters left to defend that city.
“There’s still work to do though, and we’ll continue to remain steadfast with our Iraqi partners until ISIS is defeated throughout Iraq,” McAslan said.
ISIS is known for having a global support base, due to its campaign to recruit terrorists via social media.
We have seen incidents in France, Australia, UK, USA, Canada, Philippines, etc. Defeating this network will take a lot more than beating them in Iraq and Syria.
But for now we can rejoice that ISIS is getting their asses handed to them!