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Kerry says IS loses half of territory it once occupied in Iraq

July 22, 2016, 10:07 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

The US secretary of state notes the number of IS militants has shrunk by one-third

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US Secretary of State John Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry


WASHINGTON, July 22. /TASS/. The Islamic State terrorist group (IS or ISIS, outlawed in Russia) has lost in Iraq 50% of the territory its once occupied in Iraq and 20% of the territory it once occupied in Syria. The number of militants in its ranks has shrunk by one-third, US Secretary of State John Kerry said at the start of the second day of the summit of defense and foreign ministers of the anti-terrorist coalition members held on Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Kerry reviewed the coalition’s achievements in battling ISIS and the gradual erosion of the jihadist group's capabilities. "Our coalition and our partners on the ground have driven (ISIS) out of nearly half the territory it once occupied in Iraq and 20% in Syria. Our airstrikes have degraded (its) leadership, put pressure on its supply lines, disrupted its ability to carry out offensive military operations," Kerry said. According to US data, up to 30,000 people fought on the side of the Islamists in Iraq and Syria previously.

Kerry expressed optimism about the efforts of the international coalition fighting the Islamic State and said that "without exaggeration" the day will come when the terrorists will be driven out of Syria and Iraq.

Kerry said at the end of the meeting of the coalition defense and foreign ministers he was "hopeful" that a US-proposed plan for counterterrorism coordination with Russia in Syria will bear fruit, but "I can’t say I’m confident, because there are very tough issues that are being resolved" in ongoing US-Russia talks.

The US-led international coalition is comprised of more than 40 nations, including the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and The Netherlands.

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