Thousands of Islamic State fighters and 160 of its leaders were killed in U.S. and allied military operations in Syria and Iraq over the past 18 months, the commander of the U.S. Central Command told Congress on Tuesday.
But the Islamist terror group has expanded to several regional states as U.S. forces enter a new phase of dismantling ISIS, also known as ISIL or Daesh, according to Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of 84,000 U.S. service members currently deployed in a zone stretching from North Africa to Southwest Asia.
“We are making progress militarily in our efforts to defeat ISIL, as demonstrated by the recent victories in Ramadi and Shaddadi,” Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee in prepared testimony. “However, military success will be lasting only if corresponding political progress is achieved in both Iraq and Syria.”
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