U.S. commander notes 'remarkable' coalition progress made against ISIL

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As he prepares to transfer command of Operation Inherent Resolve, Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland said the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) hit a turning point with the recent Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) recapture of Ramadi.

“In some ways, the progress against (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria has been remarkable,” MacFarland said. “We modified the type and level of support we provided over the course of the past year, but we have not fundamentally altered the paradigm of train and equip, advise and assist...The ISF proved that they can conduct complex and decisive operations.”

MacFarland also noted the success of coalition strikes carried out in conjunction with ground operations, which have helped eliminate enemy fighters and reduced ISIL’s oil-revenue stream by destroying tanker trucks and critical facilities.

“During these operations, coalition aircraft have conducted about 50,000 sorties against (ISIL) in the past year,” MacFarland said. “During those sorties, we've dropped more than 30,000 munitions on the enemy, with approximately two-thirds of those in Iraq and about one-third in Syria. Our artillery has conducted more than 700 fire missions…There's no question that our strikes have enabled the liberation of more than 25,000 total square kilometers from (ISIL). That's nearly half of what the enemy once controlled in Iraq and 20 percent of what they once controlled in Syria.”

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