ISIS territory shrinks in Iraq and Syria: US-led coalition

Shi'ite volunteers who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against Islamic State militants march during a graduation ceremony.
Shi'ite volunteers who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against Islamic State militants march during a graduation ceremony.PHOTO: REUTERS

BAGHDAD (REUTERS) - The territory held by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants shrank by 40 per cent from its maximum expansion in Iraq, and by 20 per cent in Syria in 2015, as international forces pushed its militants out of several cities, a spokesman of the US-led coalition said on Tuesday (Jan 5).

ISIS in 2014 swept through a third of Iraq, seizing Mosul, the largest city in the north, and reaching the vicinity of Baghdad.

Counter-offensives by Iraqi and Kurdish armed forces supported by the US-led coalition, and by Iran-backed Shi'ite militias forced them out of several cities since, including Tikrit, north of Baghdad, and Ramadi, to the west.

In Syria, ISIS is fighting the army of President Bashar al-Assad and other rebel groups opposed to his rule. It is facing air strikes by the US-led coalition and by Russia which has sent warplanes to support the Syrian government.