On Jan. 21, Islamic State was dealt several heavy blows in Iraq. Shiite militias, Sunni tribes, Kurdish forces and the Iraqi government fought Islamic State throughout the country and emerged victorious.
Islamic State has been steadily losing momentum in Iraq, thanks in part to the U.S.-led air campaign. According to Yahoo, Islamic State still controls the provincial capitals Mosul and Tikrit as well as the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, and some other small towns throughout Iraq.
Kurdish peshmerga forces reclaimed an area near the Mosul dam, pushing Islamic State out of seven villages on Jan. 21. Liberating Mosul is a critical goal for anti-Islamic State forces, as it’s Iraq’s second largest city.
“ISIS (Islamic State) has left more than 200 bodies of its fighters in the field,” said Masrour Barzani, chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council and the son of the region’s president in a press conference.
Another Kurdish official said that the Kurdish peshmerga fighters are 10 miles from Mosul, and that air raids have killed 30 Islamic State fighters in addition to destroying many of the group's weapons.
On Jan. 21 in Al-Abar, Iraq’s largest province, Islamic State was on the offensive. Its forces attacked the provincial capital al-Ramadi using seven car bombs. The Iraqi army, police, special forces and Sunni tribes repelled the attack.
The same day, Shiite militia infiltrated Islamic State in the town of al-Miqdadiya, in the Diyala Province northeast of Baghdad and forced Islamic State fighters into nearby farmland.
“ISIS (Islamic State) has lost today 20 percent to 25 percent of its controlled territories in Nineveh province ... and the liberation forces of Mosul will have 5,000 fighters in five days who are ready for special operations,” said Hisham al-Hashimi, an Islamic State specialist, said.
These battles may pave the way to the liberation of Mosul and, eventually, turn the tide against Islamic State.