By Christopher Brodsky
By Christopher Brodsky
Rabat – The Islamic State, commonly referred to as ISIS or ISIL, is losing territory in Iraq as coalition forces continue to advance on Mosul.
The Telegraph noted early Monday morning, large amounts of intelligence have been collected by Iraqi security and international coalition forces throughout the city. Phones, laptops, and hard-drives have been confiscated and will soon be passed along to intelligence agencies for processing.
The coalition’s recent capture of Manbij, a city in the north of Syria which has functioned as a gateway for ISIS militants entering Turkey and Europe, also provided intelligence analysts with a trove of data on the terrorist group and its larger network. The intelligence included crucial information on ISIS’s recruits, finances as well as plans for international terror plots in Europe and elsewhere.
Major General Rupert Jones, second in command of the international coalition against ISIS in Iraq, said efforts to uproot the militants in Mosul are well underway. He reported the international coalition has been degrading the city’s defenses for months. Indeed, the general reported ISIS has since lost between fifty and sixty percent of its territory in Iraq.
Jones acknowledged that, because of the sheer size of the city and the number of civilians remaining within its bounds, clearing the rest of the militants from Mosul will be a slow process.
Efforts to retake ISIS’s Syrian stronghold in Raqqa, however, will be more difficult than the Mosul operation, Jones reported. There, the coalition lacks the support and logistical capability to launch a campaign as effective as the one against Mosul.
According to Reuters, civilians are slowly beginning to return to their daily routines in areas liberated from ISIS’s control. Under the Islamic State’s authority, wages had been skimmed to fund the war effort, access to medicine was restricted, and strict social and religious laws were forced upon civilians.
ISIS has likewise lost ground in Libya and Afghanistan, where the group once hoped to carve out enclaves of influence.
Foreign Policy magazine noted on Monday, local militias in Libya have, for months, been surrounding the Islamic State’s remaining forces in the coastal city of Sirte. Supported by their international allies, the Libyan militias have almost completely defeated Islamic State forces.
The situation in Libya is not all encouraging, however, since the various competing actors, from Field-Marshall Haftar’s government in Eastern Libya, to the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, did not coordinate their efforts toward restoring a cohesive, national government.
Similarly, the Islamic State’s modest holdings in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, have been contained by resurgent Taliban forces. Analysis from the RAND Corporation argues ISIS has not been able to carry out a successful military campaign or secure the support of local residents in Afghanistan.