Coalition, local forces continue to pressure IS on multiple fronts in Iraq, Syria – US

WASHINGTON, June 21 (KUNA) — The coalition against the so-called Islamic State (IS) continues to pressure IS on multiple fronts in Iraq and Syria as local forces continue to put IS on its heels, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said on Tuesday.
In Fallujah, about a third of the city has been cleared of IS forces, and Iraqi forces continue to advance at a rate of about five to 10 percent of the city per day, “being careful to safeguard the lives of civilians and limit property damage to the extent possible,” Cook said during a briefing.
There have been 85 coalition airstrikes over the last four weeks and four in the last 24 hours, he said, adding, “We are flying strike missions every day in the fight for Fallujah.” In the north, the Iraqi push toward Al Kiara from multiple axes also continues to make progress, Cook said. Iraqi forces moving north from Baiji advanced another six kilometers today, overcoming IS defenses along the way, he said.
Meanwhile, Iraqi forces moving from the east continue their push, with the coalition providing “significant” air support for these efforts as well, he said.
In Syria, opposition forces fighting to take back Manbij city “are tightening the noose around this critical crossroad” between Raqqa and the Turkish border, Cook said. “They have faced IS resistance inside the city and along the southern edge, and they expect IS to hunker down for a tough fight in the city itself,” he said.
Syrian Democratic Forces have cleared territory and gained new insight into IS operations in the area, including the flow of foreign fighters, Cook said. “We believe that this will be helpful as we work to stem the foreign fighter flow by and the risk that IS poses outside of Syria and Iraq,” he added. (end) rm.bs