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domingo, 1 de abril de 2018

President Trump to military: ‘Rain Hell on ISIS’ in Iraq, Syria

As the international terrorist organization known as the Islamic State languishes in its death throes, America isn’t letting up. There will be no tactical pause for the jihadists to lick their wounds in and prepare to mount a fresh insurgency if U.S. President Donald Trump has anything to say about it.

Unfortunately for ISIS, Trump has a lot to say about their continued existence. Officials from the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve have confirmed that during the last two weeks, the U.S.-led coalition has executed 25 precision strikes against the remnants of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria, leaving no safe quarters for the survivors of a collapsed Caliphate.

Pound them to dust

According to a report from the Daily Caller, “President Trump has directed the U.S. military to rain Hell on ISIS in Iraq and Syria.” This includes fighting in eastern Syria along the Iraqi border and throughout several dispersed areas in Iraq.

In Syria, coalition forces taking part in Operation Inherent Resolve have not relented, destroying ISIS targets centered around the small town of Abu Kamal. Battle damage assessments have confirmed the destruction of building and fighting positions occupied by tactical units, as well as weapons caches and a vehicle-borne improvised explosives device factory.

An ISIS-held building in Al-Shadaddi which served the terrorists well during a 2016 battle with the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces was also destroyed, signaling a major strategic victory for the coalition.

In Iraq, where ISIS forces are spread thin, the coalition has focused their firepower on targets in Hawijah, Qayyarah and Ramadi. Boats, tactical units, vehicles, storage facilities and an ISIS-held cave complex were among the assets and casualties reported destroyed by U.S. forces and their allies in Iraq.

The coalition will not reveal the names or numbers involved in these air raids, though officials have confirmed that both the U.S. and other allied nations took part in the strikes and used a combination of fighter, bomber and rotor-wing aircraft.

Pilot program

The successful air sorties came as Air Force Brig. Gen. Andrew A. Croft announced that Iraqis would be assuming increased responsibility for their own air superiority after the successful completion of a new training program being introduced to Iraqi Air Force pilots.

The Coalition Aviation Advisory and Training Team provides leadership training to qualified Iraqi pilots to give them the independence to lead their own air strikes in the future. Croft explained the importance of a modern Iraqi Air Force:

Coalition air power in support of Iraqi Security Forces has been extremely successful in the destruction of ISIS in Iraq.

With just 20 to 25 qualified F-16 pilots in Iraq today, Baghdad won’t be assuming responsibility for the skies over Iraq just yet, although Croft promised that the time will come when Iraqis shoulder this burden. 

For now, the U.S.-led coalition remains in charge of rooting out insurgents that spring up in battlefields throughout both countries. Despite conducting a total of 29,225 strikes between August 2014 and the end of February 2018, only 855 Syrian and Iraqi civilians were unintentionally killed.

While none of these deaths are acceptable, these low numbers suggest the absolute imperative that the coalition places on avoiding collateral damage. This is a tall order for Iraqis to assume, and one that the coalition is not quite ready to hand over to their developing ally.