According to new reports, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now controls less than seven percent of the country, down from forty percent in early 2014.
“Daesh controlled 40 percent of Iraqi land, and as of March 31, they only held 6.8 percent of Iraqi territory,” Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, a spokesman for the Joint Operations Command against ISIS, told AFP reporters.
Three major cities were originally taken by the Islamic State in 2014, including Ramadi, Fallujah, and Tikrit. All three cities were places where American forces had fought bitterly for during the height of the war in Iraq. With the help of Iraqi Security forces and many others, much of these territories have been recaptured over the last few years. The remainder of the Islamic State is still being pushed from Iraq into Syria where they maintain a backup capital in Raqqa, which at the moment is under siege by Kurdish and American forces.
Bombing runs from Iraqi and coalition has caused an increased number of civilian casualties, which has drawn widespread media attention from around the world. According to reports, fleeing Islamic State fighters have been using civilians as human shields to protect themselves as the retrograde from the city and make their way back to the relative safety of Syria.