The U.S.-led Global Coalition against the Islamic State militant group has liberated 98 percent of the territories claimed by ISIS in 2017.
The Defense Department‘sÂ Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve said in a year-end review posted Monday that the coalition’s 70 member nations and four member organizations helped free cities in Iraq and Syria, including Mosul, Hawijah, al-Qaim, Tal Afar, Raqqah and Tabqah.
Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, commanding general of CJTF-OIR, stated that more thanÂ 23,700 square miles of territory were retrieved from ISIS.
“This means more than 4.5 million people were liberated from [ISIS] oppression in 2017 â a remarkable achievement by our partners leading to a grand total of 7.7 million people over the three years of Operation Inherent Resolve,” Funk added.
He noted that ISIS militants might still be able to return and the group’s permanent defeat can only be achieved throughÂ coalition and international efforts.
The Iraqi government will continue to rebuild the country over the next year and the SyrianÂ military will engage in the final phases of efforts to liberate the middle Euphrates River valley, CJTF-OIR said.
The Coalition aims to build on the training of Iraqis and Syrian forces as well as support international initiatives to mitigate ideology-based terrorism and boost global security.