Efforts by the Coalition to defeat and degrade Daesh, or ISIL, are reaching a new level of intensity as the U.S. and Turkey have made important decisions in recent days to step up their joint action against Daesh.
Most recently, and most importantly, Turkey has agreed to open up Turkish bases for U.S. manned and unmanned platforms to hit Daesh targets in Syria and Iraq. Coalition countries are in discussions with Turkey on how best to clear the last stretch of Syria’s border with Turkey that is controlled by Daesh.
An overall view of the theater of operations makes clear that ISIL is coming under tremendous pressure from all sides. The majority of the northern Syrian border is no longer controlled by ISIL. That border area is now controlled by groups that are hostile to Daesh, including some of the Syrian Kurdish and Arab groups that have been very effective in getting Daesh off the border. These setbacks have deprived Daesh of several primary border crossings and entry points for foreign fighters and supplies.
Meanwhile in Iraq, in the Euphrates River Valley and in Anbar province, newly trained Iraqi troops are conducting operations toward retaking Ramadi and other parts of Anbar Province.
In Tikrit, about one hundred thousand people have returned to the city and its environs.
Also in Anbar province, the mobilization of Sunni tribal fighters is increasing. And, the Kurdish Peshmerga have retaken significant territory and continue to conduct operations that apply pressure on Daesh.
The Coalition still has a long way to go until achieving the goal of defeating ISIL, but good progress is being made toward the ultimate goal of degrading and ultimately defeating Daesh.