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ISIS is losing. Watch how and why it's happening.

After ISIS's seemingly unstoppable nine-month rise, the group is being turned back in Iraq. The Iraqi army, along with Shia militias and an international air power coalition, is retaking territory.

ISIS's successes relied in part on Arab Sunni support in western Iraq. But ISIS made a mistake in approaching the city of Erbil, the Iraqi Kurdish capital. The Kurds, who have an independent fighting force, were able to stall ISIS's advance. Shortly after, the US intervened with airstrikes.

Peshmerga fighters after ISIS battle near Mosul.

Airstrikes don't usually work very well on terrorist groups, whose strategies often depend on hiding among civilians. But ISIS is different. It is obsessed with acquiring land, a key aspect to its mission. The group seeks to establish a state, complete with justice, governance, and, most important, territory. This obsession has left them in plain sight for airstrikes.

ISIS in the wide open
ISIS on a wide open hill receives a hard blow from above

Since the US airstrikes started last August, ISIS's territorial ambitions have been significantly disrupted. The Iraqi army, the Kurdish peshmerga, and Shia militias (which are often sponsored by Iran) have been pushing them back. This is why many analysts are confident ISIS will soon lose it territory in Iraq and once again end up where it started a year ago, a delusional group of hardened warriors festering in the chaos of a Syrian civil war.

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