The U.S. military and its partner forces in Iraq and Syria continued their fight to degrade ISIS in 2022, running hundreds of operations that killed or captured over 1,000 ISIS fights.
“While we have significantly degraded its capability, the vile ideology remains unconstrained,” United States Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander General Michael “Erik” Kurilla said in a press release Thursday. “We must continue to pressure ISIS through our partnered operations.”
Kurilla’s comments come after CENTCOM unveiled its 2022 updates on the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, with the command saying that U.S. and partner forces have severely disrupted and degraded the terrorist group’s ability to operate.
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The U.S. and partner forces ran 313 total operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria in 2022, CENTCOM said, with 108 of those operations being conducted in Syria and 191 in Iraq. The operations resulted in the detention of 374 ISIS fighters in total, 215 in Syria and 159 in Iraq. A total of at least 686 fighters were also killed in 2022, 466 in Syria and at least 159 in Syria.
CENTCOM credited Iraqi security forces for helping lead in the year’s successes after the U.S. security relationship with Iraq transitioned to an advise and assist role a year ago, with Kurilla saying Iraqi forces now “display a high level of competence, professionalism.”
“Over the past year, Iraqi Security Forces demonstrated an ability to continue operations to degrade ISIS, to aggressively pursue the terror group in Iraq, and to improve security and stability within Iraq,” Kurilla said. “Today, they display a high level of competence, professionalism, and progress in leading tactical operations, but there is still much work to be done.”
Kurilla also credited Syrian Democratic Forces, who he said have shown an ability to take the fight to the terror group.
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“In Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces continue to display the will, skill, and ability to aggressively root out ISIS leaders and fighters,” Kurilla said.
“The emerging, reliable and steady ability of our Iraqi and Syrian partner forces to conduct unilateral operations to capture and kill ISIS leaders allows us to maintain steady pressure on the ISIS network,” Major General Matt McFarlane, commander of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, added in the release.
Kurilla said that U.S. and partner forces “have significantly degraded” the capability of ISIS but warned that “the vile ideology remains unconstrained.”
“We must continue to pressure ISIS through our partnered operations,” Kurilla said.
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The commander pointed out that there are still currently thousands of ISIS fighters and leaders in detention throughout Iraq and Syria and that the group will continue to recruit new fighters in the future, meaning operations against the group will continue into 2023.
“We are committed and, more importantly, our partners in Iraq and Syria are committed to the enduring defeat of ISIS,” McFarlane said.
Fox News’ Liz Friden contributed to this report.
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