In February, Iraqi ground forces - backed by a USA -led air coalition - began fresh operations aimed at ousting Daesh from western Mosul, the terrorist group's last bastion in northern Iraq.
East Mosul was liberated in January, in the operation that began in October. ISIS has been encircled for "quite some time'".
"Iraqi forces control both main routes west of Mosul, limiting ISIS fighters" freedom of movement. Security forces have faced a painstaking job of clearing the city of ISIS while trying to avoid civilian casualties.
ISIS controlled 40 percent of Iraqi territory in 2014 but that figure is now down to 6.8 percent as of March 31, after extensive military operations, Brig.
"This enemy in Mosul is not going anywhere", he said, later adding, "They're not going to be able to leave to the west; they are cut off. ... This is something that is a despicable and cowardly tactic", he said.
Using satellite imagery and information from local researchers, the United Nations said in a news release Thursday it found more than 1,140 housing sites have been destroyed in western Mosul, even though only about half have been retaken by Iraqi forces.
The combination of "explosives, booby traps, snipers, the use of civilian shields", he emphasized, "just makes it very slow and hard going". "But our forces and the Iraqi security forces continue to make progress". "We're going to keep working through that".
He noted that there had already been some positive results for the people of Iraq as the fight against ISIS continued.
He went on to identify one of the two slain terrorists as Abdul Qadir Mahmoud al-Hamdouni, otherwise known as Abu Sajee.
The US announced the invasion of Raqqa late previous year, starting an effort to surround the city which is still going at a slow rate.
"The Iraqi counterterrorism service and federal police are pressing more deeply into the dense, urban terrain along the Euphrates River and the old part of the city".