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Coalition Decimates ISIL Ranks, Leadership, OIR Spokesman Says

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2016 — Coalition efforts against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are making a significant impact against the terrorists, the spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve said today.

In a live video conference from Baghdad, Army Col. Steve Warren told Pentagon reporters the operations are "hurting this enemy." ISIL is feeling the pressure, he said.

"We have decimated their ranks and shaken their leadership," he said.

ISIL has increased its forced conscription throughout Iraq and Syria, indicating that "voluntary recruitment is no longer sufficient to meet their needs," Warren said.

"We've hit their finances, both cash and oil. We've shrunk their so-called caliphate. We've disrupted their lines of communication," the colonel said.

There are increased reports of desertion among the terrorists, he said, and ISIL is executing its fighters fleeing the battlefield.

Three-hundred ISIL targets were destroyed or damaged from Jan. 26 to Feb 1, according to CJTF-OIR officials.

Progress by Iraqi and Coalition Forces

Iraqi security forces continue clearance operations in the suburbs east of Ramadi, Warren said. The ISF is moving from Lake Tharthar toward Fallujah, he said.

Coalition forces have supported Iraqi forces in the lower Euphrates River valley with dozens of airstrikes over the past several days, Warren said.

Iraqi security forces repelled an ISIL attack near the al-Fatah Bridge, north of Beiji, over the weekend, killing more than a dozen ISIL fighters, Warren said.

The Iraqi air force has been active in this area, conducting effective strikes against ISIL in the Makhoul Mountains, he said.

Members of the Iraqi air force "have been the heroes near [Beiji] and Tikrit, helping ISF thwart ISIL attacks in the area," Warren said in a Tweet today.

'Terrible Tragedy' in Syria

Along the Mara line, Syrian opposition forces, supported by "devastating" coalition air power, liberated a Syrian village from ISIL on Jan. 30, according to Warren.

"Fighting along the Mara line continues with both forces conducting offensive operations," he said.

The situation in Syria is a "terrible tragedy" with immense suffering among the population from the brutality of the war, he said.

Warren noted that the purpose of CJTF-OIR is to defeat ISIL, but the U.S. military would support humanitarian relief efforts if asked.

(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)