ERBIL, Iraq – As the battle for its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul looms, an increasingly desperate ISIS has replaced much of its depleted senior ranks with child soldiers and drugged foreign fighters ill-equipped to use what’s left of the terrorist army’s stolen armaments, according to both Kurdish and national intelligence sources.
Since ISIS captured Iraq’s second-largest city in June 2014, near daily skirmishes with Kurds and Iraqi national forces, as well as coalition air attacks, have taken a heavy toll on the battle-hardened former military officers who formed the terrorist army’s backbone. The attacks, as well as the 20-month isolation of Mosul, also have left ISIS weaponry destroyed or degraded, say experts.
“In the beginning they had powerful weapons they stole from the Iraqi Army, but over time the coalition strikes have destroyed such weapons,” Jaffar Ibrahim Eminki, deputy speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament, told FoxNews.com. “And ISIS is being defeated at many strategic points.”
Baghdad has said the fight to retake Mosul will happen this year, although U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee the city will not be recaptured in 2016.