London: Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) commander who is leading the country's aerial war against the dreaded Islamic State militant group has claimed that the terror outfit is "on the path to defeat".
Air Commander Martin Sampson told 'The Sunday Times' that interviews with former Islamic State (ISIS) fighters had found that bombing by the US-led coalition had left the group "under pressure" and demoralised.
"There is not a day gone by that we haven't degraded (its) capability," he said.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) has flown 1,300 missions and launched 300 airstrikes against ISIS targets since the UK's combat operations began on September 30 last year.
All but one strike has been against ISIS targets in Iraq and a UK drone strike killed two British-born ISIS jihadists in Syria.
Sampson said ISIS was "on the back foot", having lost about 25 per cent of its territory and failing to make "any significant gains" in the past year.
Sampson's comments came as Prime Minister David Cameron seeks to clear the way for Britain to extend its air war to hitting Isis targets in Syria.
He plans to use talks at the UN to strike a deal with Russia and the US over Syria's Bashar al-Assad, which UK government sources hope will convince MPs he has a coherent strategy.
Britain's war against ISIS will last at least until next year, with the RAF's two Sentinel spy planes and 10 Reaper drones set to extend their mission into 2016.
Cameron is also expected this week to announce that several hundred British troops will be sent on peacekeeping operations to Africa, with possible deployments to South Sudan and Somalia.