Coalition efforts against the Islamic State of Iraq and the
Levant’s leadership have severely limited the terror group’s operations, the
Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman said today.
Army Col. Steve Warren told Pentagon reporters via
teleconference from Baghdad that the coalition has remained active in targeting
Coalition efforts have dismantled ISIL headquarters and
disrupted the terrorists' efforts to plan attacks in Iraq, Syria or abroad,
"ISIL's leadership is having an increasingly difficult
time governing their so-called caliphate and they're hunkered down with a
degraded ability to shoot, move or communicate," he said.
Coalition Hunting ISIL Leader Baghdadi
The coalition is actively searching for ISIL leader Abu Bakr
al-Baghdadi, who is believed to travel between Iraq and Syria, Warren said.
"I hope that al-Baghdadi watches these press
conferences because I want him to know that we are hunting him," Warren
"We will find him just like we found his mentor [Abu
Musab al-] Zarqawi and killed him, just like we found the grandmaster of
terrorism, Osama bin Laden, [and] we killed him," Warren told reporters.
"He will taste justice,” he added. “I don’t know if
that justice will look like a Hellfire missile or if it will look like a dark
prison cell somewhere but he will find justice one day."
Baghdadi is a brutal terrorist, Warren said, who should
"not sleep well -- ever. ... Someone's either going to come in the window
and snatch him up, or the entire house that he's in will get reduced to
Developments in Iraq, Syria
Warren said Iraqi security forces, supported by the
coalition, kicked off a new offensive last week in the Tigris River Valley
called Operation Valley Wolf.
"This shaping operation, which is taking place about 45
miles south of Mosul, will help set the conditions for the liberation of
Mosul," he said.
Units from Iraq’s 15th Division have already pushed west out
of Makhmour, liberating the villages of Kudilah, Kharbardan and Karmadi, Warren
To the west, in the Euphrates River Valley, Operation Desert
Lynx continues, the colonel said.
The Iraqi 7th Division seized the Kubaysah Cement Factory
and cleared Kubaysah. Iraqi forces and tribal fighters are now clearing that
town of IEDs, Warren said.
"Tribal forces are key to maintaining long-term
stability after the army moves out of the area," he said, adding that ISF
is now nearing the outskirts of Heet.
Meanwhile, in Shaddadi, Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces
are improving their defenses and preparing for future operations. In the last
six weeks, they have gained more than 3,200 square kilometers, Warren reported.
He described operations along the Mar’a line as a
"shoving match," in which the SDF and ISIL have both gained and lost
several villages and towns in the sector.
"The shoving match continues," Warren said.
(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoDNews)