U.S. Army forces have conducted strikes on Islamic State forces from Jordan, utilizing rocket systems for the first time, confirmed Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Steve Warren Friday.
The utilization of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) against ISIS forces in southern Syria is a change from the usual air strikes that are more commonly conducted in the area. Warren noted that the weapons system was utilized in support of a Syrian opposition group fighting an ISIS garrison just north of the Jordanian border.
“That was a HIMARS strike,” said Warren during a Friday press briefing. “It’s another platform to conduct strikes … we fully intend to leverage that.”
HIMARS is a highly-accurate rocket system that can use multiple munition types to bombard an enemy from up to 200 miles away. The system needs only a three-man crew to operate and can be deployed via C-130 transport aircraft, making it very useful in operations where heavier artillery pieces are not available.
Warren noted that when it comes to ISIS, the “overall strategy includes strengthening the defense of Jordan.” He, however, said U.S. troops from Jordan did not accompany opposition forces into Syria when the rocket strike occurred.
Warren said it was “simply a practical decision” why a land-based platform was utilized instead of an air strike, adding the HIMARS was the platform available at the time. He noted the decision not to use air assets had nothing to do with concerns over Russian operations in the area.
“Several different types of missions [are] going on in Jordan,” said Warren, however, the HIMARS unit that conducted the strike was a “small detachment” numbering only in the “double digits.”
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