President Obama says ISIL is losing territory, dispatches Secretary Carter to Middle East to boost coalition support. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
Rough cut (No reporter narration) STORY: Speaking after consulting with top Pentagon officials, President Barack Obama claimed that ISIS is losing territory and fighters in Iraq and Syria. The President said that while coalition forces are making progress against ISIS, also referred to as ISIL, the pace of that progress needs to increase. "This continues to be a difficult fight. As I said before, ISIL is dug in, including in urban areas and they hide behind civilians," said Obama. The President said that before the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, he ordered a surge in military operations against the terrorist group. "In recent weeks, we've unleashed a new wave of strikes on their lifeline, on their oil infrastructure, destroying hundreds of their tanker trucks, wells and refineries. And we're going to keep on hammering those," the president said. "We are hitting ISIL harder than ever. Our fighters, bombers and drones, have been increasing the pace of their strikes; nearly 9,000 as of today. Last month, in November, we dropped more bombs on ISIL targets than any month since this campaign started," Obama said. Obama claimed that ISIS has lost 40% of the territory it once controlled in Iraq and it has lost thousands of square miles in Syria. The president said that a number of western allies including France, Germany, and Australia are doing more to combat ISIS, and he is sending Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to the Middle East to encourage coalition partners there to increase their contributions to the fight.