The number of Islamic State (ISIS) fighters is at its lowest since 2014, owing to extended efforts conducted by the US-led coalition forces, the US State Department announced Wednesday.
The group has suffered major setbacks since the United States joined forces with international partners as part of the Operation Tidal Wave II last October. In September 2014 the group had about 20,000 to 31,500 fighters, according to a CIA report. Since then, ISIS has lost 40 percent of its territory in Iraq, and 10 percent in Syria, according to the State Department. A poll published April 12 found that a vast number of young Arabs are rejecting ISIS and say it will ultimately fail.
It almost sounds too easy.
"We believe that by degrading them in phase one and then dismantling them in phase two, we believe that that will set us up for phase three which, of course, is the ultimate defeat of this enemy," he added.
It's nice to hear Ash Carter at least say this.
"The success of the campaign against ISIL in Iraq does depend upon political and economic progress as well," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Monday, Reuters reported. "Economically it's important that the destruction that's occurred be repaired and we're looking to help the Iraqis with that."
Yes, that is important.