The battle against ISIS continues in the Levant, with both the United States and Iraq launching sorties against Islamic State targets in Syria.
According to a report from Reuters, the Iraqi Air Force conducted a strike against ISIS near the Syria-Iraq border earlier this week, which destroyed an ISIS “operations room.” A Spokesman from the Iraqi Air Force stated that the terrorists killed in the strike were actively planning attacks in Iraq.
“According to intelligence, those terrorists who were killed were planning criminal operations using suicide vests and intended to target innocents in the next few days inside Iraq,” the spokesman said in a statement.
The Iraq Air Force operates the F-16 and is trained by the United States through the Coalition Aviation Advisory and Training Team (CAATT) program. Since its launch in February 2018, CAATT trains Iraqi pilots to plan and lead combat missions independently and also teaches Iraqi servicemembers things such as proper aircraft maintenance and how to accurately request airstrikes from the ground.
“This coalition team of Airmen will build upon our Iraqi partner’s combat-proven capabilities to ensure a capable, affordable, professional and sustainable Iraqi Aviation Enterprise,” said Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander in a press release. “Together with our Iraqi Security Forces partners, we will ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS in Iraq.”
While independent strikes by Iraqi forces are a vital component in the overall strategy to defeat ISIS, U.S. air power continues to hammer terrorist targets in both Iraq and Syria. According to a press release from U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) the U.S. launched 12 strikes against the Islamic State between August 6 and August 12.
According to CENTCOM, the recent U.S. strikes destroyed ISIS supply routes, cave complexes, vehicles, weapons caches, logistical hubs, a headquarters, and ISIS-held buildings.