ISIS is in shambles, and the U.S.-led coalition is currently looking for signs the terror group is trying to reconstitute itself in Iraq and Syria, according to Col. Patrick Work, the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
The comments from the Falcon brigade commander comes as ISIS has lost considerable territory in Iraq and Syria.
In Raqqa, more than 80 percent of ISIS’ self-proclaimed capital has been liberated by U.S.-backed Syrian fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, according to Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve.
SDF forces have also continued to make steady progress in Deir ez-Zour province in the Middle Euphrates River Valley, liberating numerous villages and oil fields that once funded ISIS’ combat power.
In Iraq, Mosul was liberated after a nearly nine-month intense urban battle in mid-July.
Since the capture of Iraq’s second most populous city from ISIS militants, territory held by the terror group has rapidly dwindled.
Tal Afar was liberated at the end of August, and the Iraqi town of Hawija fell shortly thereafter following just under two weeks of fighting.
ISIS’ combat power appears on the ropes as its caliphate crumbles. The rapid fall of Hawijah witnessed nearly 1,000 ISIS fighters, who once pledge to fight to the death, surrender en masse to Kurdish Peshmerga forces, according to a report from the New York Times.
The liberation of Mosul and ongoing fight in Raqqa is behind ISIS’ rapid collapse, according to Work.
It takes “a massive amount of resources and effort,” and ISIS “consumed massive amounts of resources” to defend Mosul, Work said in a phone interview with reporters on Tuesday.
“ISIS is in tatters … the whole thing is falling apart,” he added.
ISIS simply didn’t live up to the expectations of the terror group’s believers and supporters, according to Work.
The terror group had several major faults in its logic, he told reporters. For one, ISIS must always expand to create its global caliphate, which means the group must always be at war, he explained.
Second, ISIS believes there can be no accommodations for those that don’t support the terror group and its core beliefs.
But, the coalition and its partners have checked ISIS on all of these ideological points, according to Work. ISIS’ territorial holdings are crumbling, and its staying power and support structure is vanishing.
“The idea is dying from within,” Work said of ISIS’ system that once attracted thousands of believers and foreign fighters to its cause.
“We are at a point right now where ISIS is in shambles,” he said.
Soldiers from the Falcon brigade just wrapped up a nearly nine-month deployment to Iraq, where the unit helped train and advise Iraqi security forces as they liberated Mosul.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.