ISIS is losing, coalition to step up pressure - US envoy

Brett McGurk addresses a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq, March 5, 2016.
Brett McGurk addresses a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq, March 5, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

BAGHDAD (REUTERS) - Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is losing a battle against forces arraigned against if from many sides and the focus will turn to stabilising cities seized back from them, the US envoy to a coalition fighting the group said on Saturday.

Addressing a press conference in Baghdad, US official Brett McGurk declined to put a timeline on when the group will be defeated or when Mosul and Raqqa, the main cities under its control in Iraq and Syria respectively, will be retaken.

McGurk met in Baghdad with 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 another expression for ISIS.

"Daesh is losing; as they lose we focus increasingly on stabilisation," he added, referring to plans being made to rehabilitate and police cities recaptured from militants.

ISIS has come under pressure from air raids and ground forces actions by various parties in both countries, but they still hold large tracts of land.