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Islamic State Terrorists Lose Large Areas of Syria, Iraq

Iraqi security forces take combat positions at the front-line with Islamic State group militants as Iraqi Army and allied Sunni volunteer tribal fighters supported by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes on Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's Anbar province, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. AP Photo.
Islamic State Terrorists Lose Large Areas of Syria, Iraq
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Military pressure against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq has cost the terrorist group 22 percent of its territory in the past 15 months.

About half of the loss has happened since the beginning of this year.

The monitoring group IHS said the militants are, in its words, “increasingly isolated and being perceived as in decline.”

IHS said the terrorists have been pushed back in northern Syria between Raqqa -- claimed by the Islamic State -- and the Turkish border. Airstrikes by Russia and a coalition led by the United States have freed important border crossings. Kurdish and Sunni fighters have supported that coalition.

The Islamic State terrorist group controls only a small area of Syria, where it smuggles supplies and fighters from Turkey.

At the same time, pro-government forces in Iraq also regained territory. The army -- and Sunni and Shi’ite militias -- took back control of Ramadi.

Iraq also plans to try to retake Mosul in the north. The militants have held the city for more than a year and a half.

The international community has noted the need for a unified fight against the Islamic State militants. It says if the Syrian government and rebels sign a peace agreement, their armies and weapons can be used in the fight against the IS militants.

Between 250,000 and 470,000 people have died in Syria -- and millions have fled the country -- in the past five years. There has been little progress to end the country’s civil war.

UN-led peace talks were held in Geneva, Switzerland this week.

I’m Anne Ball. reported on this story. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the report for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

isolated – adj. separate from others

perceive – v. to notice or become aware of (something)

smuggle – v. to move (someone or something) from one country into another illegally and secretly

militia – n. a group of people who are not part of the armed forces of a country but are trained like soldiers