US-led coalition spokesman: ISIS suffering setback

Militant fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS). File photo

ARA News 

QAMISHLO – Colonel Steve Warren, the US-led coalition’s Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman, said the recent attacks by militants of the Islamic State (ISIS) against the Kurdish Peshmerga front lines in northern Iraq last Tuesday that also killed one US serviceman, was to gain attention after suffering “several defeats in a row”.

“This enemy [ISIS] has been getting slapped around now by both the CTS, the Iraqi security forces and the Peshmerga for weeks,” Colonel Warren told a press conference on Wednesday. “They’re being pressured, their noses have been bloodied and they’ve continued to become battered around Makhmur.  They were out of Bashir [village] by the Peshmerga,” he added. 

“It’s an area [Bashir] that they used to launch indirect fire attacks against Kirkuk, it’s an area that they used to launch chemical weapons attacks against Taza that killed three children several months ago and the Peshmerga came in and took it away from them, unceremoniously took it away from them in a relatively quick fight.  It took about 24 hours,” he said.

“This enemy has suffered a string of recent defeats.  They were kicked out of Hiit, they’ve been cleared out of the roadway between Hiit and Dulab, they’re being pressured into Dulab,” Warren stated.

“So this enemy has suffered a string of defeats recently, and one of the things that we’ve noticed that what ISIL [ISIS] likes to do is when they have suffered several defeats in a row, when they’re back on their heels, often they will try one of these more high-profile, high-visibility attacks in an effort to gain some attention,” he said. 

“This enemy wanted to stage a relatively high-profile, high-visibility attack that would distract peoples’ attention away from the beatdown that they’ve been taking everywhere else.  Luckily for us, it won’t work,” he said, suggesting that ISIS is on the back foot, and that the latest attacks have no “lasting operational value to this enemy”.

The US-led coalition spokesperson also referred to the ISIS-led complex attack on December 16, 2015, near the town of Tal Aswad against Kurdish Peshmerga forces, that included hundreds of ISIS fighters and several VBIEDs. 

“It was, we believe, in reaction to the fact that they were in the process of losing Ramadi.  What this enemy likes to do is when they’re — when they’re taking a beatdown, they like to try and stage some noticeable event that would distract the press, particularly the Western press who are very vulnerable to distraction in their view,” he stated.

Moreover, Warren said that when ISIS suffers setbacks, it carries out attacks on civilians in other parts of the world. In November, when the Kurdish forces took Sinjar, the ISIS operatives attacked Paris.

“We also know that when this enemy is on its heels, when it’s suffered several setbacks, they’re likely to try and lash out, you know, through terror attacks, perhaps in Baghdad, perhaps elsewhere in Syria, perhaps elsewhere in the world,” the coalition spokesperson added.

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