File photo: General James Terry speaks at a news conference in 2012.
Ralph Orlowski/Getty/File
File photo: General James Terry speaks at a news conference in 2012.

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Gen. James Terry says ISIS is having trouble moving now

"When they stick their head up now, we make sure that capability is degraded"

He said he doesn't see the need for U.S. ground troops -- for now

Washington CNN —  

Combat strikes against ISIS have put the terror group on the defensive, the commander of U.S. military operations against ISIS said Monday.

“(ISIS) operationally is probably on the defense to hold what they have gained,” Gen. James Terry, commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, told reporters in Kuwait.

Coalition airstrikes have caused ISIS to have difficulty moving and communicating.

“Initially we saw a lot of movement … with technical vehicles, heavy machine guns,” he said. “It was a very mobile force but quite frankly when they stick their head up now, we make sure that capability is degraded.”

Still, he said the group is “able to conduct some limited attacks” to support their messaging.

Countries in the region and NATO members will send an additional 1,500 troops to combat ISIS, which Terry called a “threat to region.” The additional forces will be there to “build partner capacity,” meaning training Iraqi security forces and advising and assisting operations. The United States already has 1,500 American troops in Iraq.

The pledge was made during what he called an “outstanding conference” in the region held December 2-3.

“One of the priorities is to build this coalition and hold this coalition together,” he said.

Terry said he didn’t currently see the need for U.S. ground troops in the form of ground controllers for airstrikes or forward deployed operations, but like Joint Chiefs Chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey, Terry said should the need arise, he would “certainly ask for it.”

The focus now, he said, is on balancing the commitments from other nations.

“A lot of coalition members come together with different capabilities,” he said.

Iraqi security forces on the ground are also making progress, conducting 15 operations so far, including the recapture of the Mosul dam and the Baiji oil refinery, two key infrastructure targets.

Still the commander said they could still be months or years away from launching major offensive operations.

“While they still have a long way to go, I think they are becoming more capable everyday,” Terry said.

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