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American Forces Press Service

Syrian Situation Remains Volatile, Inherent Resolve Spokesman Says

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, February 17, 2016 – The situation in Syria remains volatile, even as the region prepares for a cessation of hostilities so nongovernmental agencies can feed starving civilians, the spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve said today.

Army Col. Steve Warren laid the responsibility for that suffering at the feet of the Bashar Assad regime. Russia's intervention on the side of the regime has only made matters worse, he said.

"This week, we all saw the reports of continued indiscriminate bombing by Russian and regime forces, and even the use of barrel bombs," Warren said from Baghdad. "We also saw the reports of two hospitals and a school in northern Syria being struck. This reckless disregard for civilian casualties only complicates the situation and prolongs human suffering."

The colonel updated Pentagon reporters on coalition airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant financial targets. These are like ISIL banks that pay terrorists' salaries and finance terror operations, and Warren estimated the strikes have cost ISIL hundreds of millions of dollars.

Strikes Include Oil Targets

The coalition also launched strikes against oil targets as part of Operation Tidal Wave II, Warren said.

"All of [the] targeting of their industrial base or their ability to generate revenue has had an impact," he said. "We've seen reports … of ISIL having to reduce its salaries to … its fighters, in some cases by as much as half."

Warren called this a "fairly significant indicator" that the strikes against ISIL profit centers are "beginning to squeeze them a little bit, and we're going to continue to do that." Coalition forces will continue to hit ISIL's cash, the oil targets and various leadership targets, he added.

In other operational news, Iraqi forces continue with the removal of ISIL improvised explosive devices in Ramadi, Warren said. Iraqi forces also are moving along the Tharthar Canal toward Fallujah. "These operations have been supported by 11 [combined joint task force] strikes this week," he added.

Finally, Warren said, coalition aircraft conducted 29 strikes in and around Mosul in a week.

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