Progress Claimed Against ISIS in Iraq, Syria

Iraqi security forces and Kurdish fighters, supported by US-led air strikes, are making “major progress” against ISIS extremists in Iraq and Syria, a coalition official said Friday. Marine Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley, chief of staff for the Operation Inherent Resolve coalition, cited the recent gains in northern Syria by Kurdish Peshmerga and Free Syrian fighters, which have “disrupted supply lines” and “further restricted Daesh [the local term for ISIS] mobility.” Iraqi forces also have made gains in and around the Beiji oil refinery and are engaged in “shaping” operations for a counter attack on Ramadi, Weidley told Pentagon reporters. He would not talk about a possible time for the fight to reclaim the capital of Anbar Province. Weidley said Iraqi officials recently added 500 Sunnis into the training and equipping effort in Anbar, but US troops, including the additional 450 being sent to an Anbar base, will not train the new Sunni fighters. Instead, he said, they would train Iraqi troops, who would train the Sunnis and would provide expert advice to their Iraqi counterparts on subjects such as intelligence and logistics. The Americans would not go outside the secured base, he said.