ISIS has suffered a devastating series of days, losing scores of fighters and its grip on several key areas in Iraq.
In a period of 24 hours, ISIS suffered defeats on nearly every front in Iraq, with a coalition of Shiite and Kurd militias, Sunni tribes, and Iraqi military forces pushing them back in all areas of the country.
The ground that the Islamic militant group seized last summer in its blitz across Iraq and Syria has now been slowly but systematically seized back. Though the group still controls Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, it is losing ground there as well.
On Wednesday, Kurdish Peshmerga forces retook an area near the Mosul dam, liberating seven villages in the process.
“ISIS has left more than 200 bodies of its fighters in the field,” said Masrour Barzani, chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council and the son of the region’s president, in a press conference on Wednesday.
Experts believe that ISIS could eventually lose Mosul to the coalition forces.
“ISIS has lost today 20 percent to 25 percent of its controlled territories in Nineveh province … and the liberation forces of Mosul will have 5,000 fighters in five days who are ready for special operations,” said Hisham al-Hashimi, an ISIS specialist.
ISIS has already been pushed out of Kobane, a critical town on the border with Turkey. A group of mostly Kurdish fighters repelled ISIS in recent weeks.
ISIS is also suffering from continued air strikes from American and coalition forces. This week, U.S. diplomatic officials said the coalition fighting ISIS have killed more than 6,000 fighters, including half of the group’s top commanders.
This could be anywhere from half to one-third of the total fighters. U.S. intelligence officials estimates that ISIS has between 9,000 and 18,000 fighters remaining, but can draw on thousands of other allied fighters to create a total force of close to 31,000.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said this week that the attacks have “halted” the momentum ISIS once had, reclaiming “more than 700 square kilometers” from the militant group in Iraq.