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Islamic State Territory In Iraq, Syria Shrank 30 Percent In 2015

Iraqis drive their vehicles early on December 29 through the city of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's Anbar Province, after Iraqi forces recaptured the city from Islamic State.

The territory controlled by the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria shrank by nearly one-third last year, according to the U.S.-led coalition fighting the radical Islamic group.

IS lost 40 percent of its territory in Iraq and 20 percent in Syria, and they now are in a "defensive crouch," coalition spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said January 5 in Baghdad.

With help from coalition air strikes, Kurdish forces pushed IS out of Sinjar and other parts of northern Iraq, as well as a band of Syrian territory along the Turkish border.

In central Iraq, government forces and Shi'ite militias recaptured the city of Tikrit, and last month they routed IS out of most of Ramadi, the capital of western Anbar Province.

"All of these things add up and we believe this enemy is weaker," Warren said, noting that IS has not gained any new territory since May. "Militarily they are struggling."

IS still holds large parts of Syria and much of northern and western Iraq, including the country's second-largest city, Mosul.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters