ISIS is lagging behind in a battle by forces arraigned against if from many sides in Iraq and Syria, the U.S. envoy to a coalition fighting the group said on Saturday. The focus now has to turn to stabilizing cities seized back from them, he added.
Addressing a press conference in Baghdad, U.S. official Brett McGurk refused to put a timeline on when the group would be defeated or when Mosul and Raqqa, the main cities under its control in Iraq and Syria respectively, would be recaptured.
McGurk met in Baghdad Iraqi officials including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who said in December that 2016 would be a year of “final victory” over the group in Iraq.
“Daesh is feeling pressure now from all simultaneous directions and that’s going to continue .. that’s going to accelerate,” McGurk said at the press conference, using an acronym for ISIS.
“Daesh is losing; as they lose we focus increasingly on stabilization,” he added, denoting plans being made to restore and police cities taken back from militants.
ISIS still holds vast areas of land in Iraq and Syria, yet air raids and ground forces actions by numerous parties in both countries have started to weaken it.