The top American commander in Iraq believes U.S.-backed forces will recapture Islamic State's two major strongholds - the cities of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq - within the next six months, his spokesman said on Wednesday.
The spokesman, Air Force Colonel John Dorrian, confirmed reported remarks by U.S. Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend.
Townsend was quoted as telling the Associated Press that "within the next six months I think we'll see both (the Mosul and Raqqa campaigns) conclude."
The latest word on the fight against Islamic State came as the U.S. military was developing a plan at President Donald Trump's request to accelerate the campaign to defeat the militant group. The plan is due late this month.
While it has lost some territory in Mosul, Islamic State still holds swaths of Syrian territory and is putting up fierce resistance in Raqqa, the militant group's de facto capital in eastern Syria, where U.S. officials believe is the hub for its plots for attacks against Western targets
Experts said the Pentagon could still request some additional forces. Less than 6,000 American troops are currently deployed to both Iraq and Syria.