The Counter-ISIL Coalition and its allies on the ground in Syria and Iraq are making progress in rolling back ISIL. We continue to adapt and focus on elements of our strategy that have worked in fighting these terrorists, and incorporate lessons learned into our strategy. Take, for example, the liberation of the Iraqi city of Tikrit, said Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL:
“We’ve learned a lot of lessons of Tikrit about how to do stabilization, about how to work with the central government in Baghdad and the local authorities to get people back safely.”
And the lessons of Tikrit helped in the retaking of Ramadi. “Every single time….that we have advised and assisted an Iraqi operation, or any operation against ISIL, ISIL has not only been defeated, they’ve been just totally routed. So we kind of have the combination of what works, and Ramadi was the most difficult test for this,” said Special Envoy McGurk.
The strategy is working. So far, ISIL has lost about 40 percent of the populated territory in once controlled in Iraq. In Syria, ISIL has lost approximately 10 percent of the territory it once controlled and the Coalition is working with local forces to isolate and constrict the terrorists. This means close cooperation among the many groups on the ground fighting ISIL. In cooperation with the Turkish Government, we are working with our partners to make it increasingly difficult for ISIL to move resources into Syria and to completely shut off the remaining 98 kilometer strip of the border between Syria and Turkey.
As ISIL is defeated and withdraws, we learn how they operate, allowing us to adjust to their methods.
As ISIL is defeated and withdraws, we learn how they operate, allowing us to adjust to their methods. The United States will continue to provide the appropriate training and military equipment to the Iraqis forces that allow them to neutralize ISIL’s most useful weapons. “It’s a degraded organization compared to what we’ve seen before,” said Special Envoy McGurk.
“There’s still a ways to go,” he said. But “We think we’ve checked the western advance of ISIL.”