ISIS is experiencing a string of setbacks in Iraq.
Since August 2014, the militant group has lost control of somewhere between 5,000 to 6,000 square miles, according to a Pentagon assessment. This amounts to the group no longer being able to freely operate in 25% to 30% of populated Iraqi regions where they were once active.
The following graphic, from the US Department of Defence, highlights the territory ISIS has lost since August in orange.
Most recently, ISIS was expelled from the Sunni city of Tikrit. The birthplace of Saddam Hussein and a hotbed of Sunni sectarianism, the loss of Tikrit to a coalition of Shiite militias and the Iraqi military aided through US airstrikes was a huge tactical loss for the militant group.
The Iraqi government is now launching operations against ISIS in western Anbar province. The heavily Sunni province’s most populous areas are mostly controlled by ISIS and the group has been openly active in Fallujah since at least December 2013.
So far, the Iraqi government’s Anbar offensive has bypassed Fallujah and focused on dislodging ISIS from the contested provincial capital of Ramadi. In response, ISIS has launched a counter offensive against the Iraqi government in both Ramadi and against the Baiji Oil Refinery north of Tikrit.
Although ISIS has been losing ground in Iraq, the Pentagon warns that the group’s total amount of territorial control in Syria has remained unchanged. Although the group has lost territory around Kobane, it has made gains in the south of the country around Damascus and in the Yarmouk refugee camp, which is just miles from the city’s downtown.
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