WASHINGTON (May 11, 2016) —
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters resort to desperate
acts as the terrorist organization loses ground in Iraq, the commander
of Operation Inherent Resolve’s
Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command said, as he extended
condolences to the people affected by today’s bombing in Baghdad.
Army Maj. Gen. Gary J. Volesky told Pentagon reporters in a
teleconferenced briefing from Baghdad that Iraq security forces “have
the situation under control.” DoD officials said about 90 people were
killed in the blast.
The Iraqis have not asked for assistance, he said, adding the attacks have not changed the Operation Inherent Resolve’s posture.
Making Progress Against ISIL
Volesky, who also commands the 101st Airborne Division, said
conditions on the ground have changed in the last 60 days -- from
clearing Ramadi and protecting the forward line of troops in the
northern portion of Iraq.
“The Iraqi security forces have made great progress in the
Euphrates River Valley, putting constant pressure on ISIL,” he said.
“They've started operations at … Makhmur, just to the east of Qayyarah.
That's the farthest north that Iraqi security forces have been since the
fall of Mosul.”
As the Iraqi forces have made gains, Volesky said, officials
have seen changes in ISIL operations, as the terrorist group faces
increasing Iraqi pressure.
“The enemy was originally able to use the Tigris River Valley
and the Euphrates River Valley … as one operation [to] move men, weapons
and equipment,” the general said. But increased Iraqi pressure shows
ISIL must conduct two separate operations in the river valleys, he
Iraqi Forces Increase Pressure
“As we saw previously, their ability to conduct large-scale
offensive operations has primarily stopped. They're more … every day on
the defensive, trying to delay Iraqi security forces just to buy time,”
Officials recently looked at ISIL’s targeting methodology to
continue applying pressure across all of Iraq, the general said. He
credited the U.S.-led coalition with assisting Iraqi forces as it
counters ISIL fighters.
“This coalition is unlike any other one that I have ever served
in,” he said. “I have been associated with coalitions, … [and nations]
that are parts of this coalition are making a huge contribution.”
Speaking from a 101st perspective, Volesky also noted, “Our
saying is, ‘When you want it done, call in the 101.’ And we can't do
what we do without our military families and the great communities that
support our Army every single day.”