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Progress Continues in ISIL Fight, Inherent Resolve Spokesman Says

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, March 21, 2016 — Coalition forces and their partners on the ground are making sustained progress in the fight in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman said today.

Army Col. Steve Warren briefed Pentagon reporters via video teleconference from Baghdad.

Recent coalition strikes on bridges about 50 miles south of Mosul have limited ISIL's ability to maneuver and sustain its fighters east of the Tigris River, Warren said.

In Mosul, the coalition struck at an ISIL headquarters and weapons manufacturing facility March 19, he said.

In the Euphrates River Valley, coalition efforts continue to pressure ISIL, the colonel said. Iraqi forces are securing the western approaches to Hit and are making steady progress, Warren said.

"One airstrike of interest occurred on March 17 against an ISIL headquarters and weapons storage facility in Hit," he said, adding that the strike destroyed the headquarters building and nine weapons storage facilities.

Warren said that in the last 10 days, the Iraq Counter Terrorism Service and local forces have cleared more than 25 miles of the Euphrates River Valley, liberating several small villages along the way.

Making Preparations

He said Iraq’s 73rd Brigade and the counter terrorism service are making preparations now for the final advance on Hit.

Those efforts, the colonel said, include clearing operations in a wider effort to eliminate ISIL fighters, deny access to resources and cut off the terrorists' lines of communication in preparation for the liberation of Mosul.

Warren noted that Iraqi forces northeast of Ramadi cleared 572 improvised explosive devices, opening a six-mile long stretch of road. "This is good progress," he said.

In Syria, Syrian Democratic Forces continue to pressure the enemy in Shaddadi and along the Mara line, Warren told reporters. Operation Tidal Wave II -- targeted strikes on ISIL oil production and distribution -- has struck 117 targets to date, including eight in March, the colonel said.

"Tidal Wave II has debilitated ISIL oil infrastructure, and it has hamstrung their ability to fund terror operations," Warren said.

(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)