Anti-ISIL Forces Make Gains in Iraq, Syria

Forces fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant continue to make progress in Iraq and Syria, the Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman said today.

“We’re starting to see changes in the way ISIL operates every day on the ground here. That doesn’t mean this is over. We’re a long way from over,” Army Col. Steve Warren said.

Speaking to Pentagon reporters via teleconference from Baghdad, Warren said indigenous ground forces continue to consolidate gains across the battlefield.

“We’re seeing the impacts of our operations to defeat ISIL,” he said.

Vetted Syrian opposition forces and New Syrian Forces successfully seized the towns of Harjala and Dalha after a tough fight last week, he said.

“This is important because it’s the first successful offensive operation since June along the Mar’a line,” he noted.

Weakening Vehicle Bomb Effectiveness

Warren said the effectiveness of vehicle bombs used by ISIL is at five percent.

He said Iraqi forces have improved their ability in identifying and destroying such bombs, and targeted strikes by coalition and Iraqi aircraft have destroyed vehicle bomb factories.

“Taking out their oil today won’t necessarily make something change tomorrow, but it will make something change downstream,” he said. “But hitting these … factories, we are seeing an impact.”

There are fewer vehicle bombs on the battlefield, Warren said. The ones that remain are not well-made and will often self-detonate before they reach their target, he said.

“They’re softer for us, so they’re easier for us to kill, or for the [Iraqi security forces] to kill,” the colonel said.

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