I hate writing about the enemy’s supposed success, but one has to remain truthful and vigilant for accuracy in reports filed on the fighting nonetheless.
The numbers seem compelling. The Pentagon said this week that ISIL has lost 700 square kilometres of its territory since it seized parts of Syria and Iraq in early June.
According to Iraqi analyst Hisham Al Hashimi, ISIL has lost 10 per cent of its territory, 90 per cent of its sources of income, nine out of 11 of its weapons warehouses in Iraq and three out of 10 warehouses in Syria. More than 30 leaders of the organisation have also been killed, including high-ranking commanders and officials such as Abu Muslim Al Turkmani, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi’s deputy, and Ridwan Taleb Al Hamdouni, the group’s leader in Mosul.
The numbers seem to indicate ISIL is being hit where it hurts. It has lost most of the resources that had made it the richest terror group on the planet, as well as several of its top leaders. Territorially, the group has lost the momentum to advance towards Baghdad, the Kurdish region and northern Syria. In terms of governance, ISIL has also lost the ability to lavishly spend on its “state-building” project that once seemingly made it a viable alternative to governments and established militias.
But these numbers do not indicate that ISIL is retreating. First, according to Al Hashimi, ISIL has compensated for its territorial losses in Iraq by gaining around four per cent more territory inside Syria. More than that, the group’s losses over the past six months should be seen in the wider context of ISIL’s military presence to avoid misplaced proclamations. The terror group still tightly controls large provinces and cities and towns in Syria and Iraq, while it is still diverting the resources of its enemies to battles outside its territories.
Despite the airstrikes, ISIL still took over towns and villages, such as Hit in Iraq and hamlets in Anbar and Aleppo. It still made advances despite being under aerial bombardment.
More here. H/T: Fjordman