Is ISIS defeated in Iraq and Syria?

The Islamic State, a day after being ousted from its defacto capital of Raqqa, is losing its foothold in the two nations where it established its bloody roots and grew from former President Barack Obama’s infamous “JV team” into an unrelenting exporter of global terror.

Once the owner — or captor — of a swath of land in Syria and Iraq, the militant group has lost control of its two key cities — and at least half of the original territory it once brazenly roamed.

But after more than three years, ISIS lost control of the Iraqi city in July when a massive operation undertaken by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces squeezed the terrorists out. The city was declared “liberated” from ISIS’ grip, but the destruction, after three years of brutal and bloody control, had a more lasting effect.

ISIS’ days in Iraq and Syria appear numbered. At its peak, ISIS held territory in which 10 million people lived. On Tuesday, its presence in Iraq was down to a sliver of land along the Euphrates river valley bordering Syria, the BBC reported through information released by the HIS Conflict Monitor.

The group still holds about 81 miles of the Euphrates River Valley inside eastern central Syria. The war on ISIS has already shifted to the Deir el-Zour province that holds much of Syria’s oil and gas resources — which has been a key component of ISIS’ success in maintaining power and funding its barbaric reign.

Despite losing significant territory, Baghdadi reportedly surfaced to address supporters in a 46-minute audio recording in September. It’s unclear when the message was recorded, but that it purported to be from Baghdadi seemed to quash rumors the ISIS leader had been killed.

For the majority of the speech, Baghdadi attempted to appeal to ISIS supporters worldwide, according to an analysis Fox News obtained from MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor. The global message may have been a nod to ISIS’ dwindling territory in Syria and Iraq.

“Oh soldiers of Islam and caliphate supporters everywhere, intensify the successive attacks, and include the unbelievers’ media headquarters and the ideological war centers among [your] targets,” a voice believed to be Baghdadi said.




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