The US is claiming its airstrikes in Syria and Iraq have killed 10 mid-level ISIL leaders in the past month, notably a French national implicated in the Paris attacks.
He has been named as Charaffe al-Mouadan, and was allegedly killed on Christmas Eve.
Also named was, according to the US, a UK-educated leading ISIL hacker, Siful Haque Sujan from Bangladesh.
With the Iraqi army now being more effective on the ground in Iraq, retaking Ramadi on Monday, ISIL is being squeezed from all directions.
“I think it’s really important to keep in mind that we still have a fight ahead of us. Mosul is different than Ramadi, it’s a big, big, big city and it’s going to take a lot of effort, it’s going to take more training, it’s going to take more equipment and it’s going to take patience,” said Col. Steve Warren, US army.
Social media sites have received pictures allegedly from Aleppo, Damascus and Homs showing Syrian or Russian barrel bombing of residential areas.
Several NGOs say civilian deaths have sharply risen since the Russians began their air war, and their criticisms were amplified by the US State Department on Monday.
Indeed, some have claimed Russian planes are now killing more civilians per week than ISIL. Others maintain that Russia is bombing regime opponents of Bashar al-Assad far more intensively than known jihadi strongholds of ISIL.