Operation Inherent Resolve - 2019
Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve continued supporting Coalition partner forces with precision air strikes and coordinated fires to degrade ISIS capabilities in the fight against ISIS in the Middle Euphrates River Valley, Syria, and the Anbar province, Iraq, between Dec. 30, 2018, - Jan. 6, 2019. In Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces liberated the town of al-Kashmah; defeating ISIS despite their use of complex attacks, improvised-explosive devices and booby-trapped buildings. Throughout the fight, the SDF rescued civilians as they fled from ISIS, which attempted to hide in residential areas and public facilities to protect themselves. “Since their offensive operations began in the MERV, our partners have made steady progress in their fight against ISIS,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Roberson, Special Operation Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve commander. “They have proven themselves as reliable, effective combat soldiers, and with their continued cooperation we will continue to support them as they free northeast Syria from the grip of ISIS.”
Between Dec. 30, 2018 and Jan. 12, 2019, CJTF-OIR conducted 575 strikes consisting of 1,147 engagements in Syria, and conducted 13 strikes consisting of 19 engagements in Iraq. In Syria, 575 strikes engaged 485 ISIS tactical units, and destroyed 308 staging areas, 220 fighting positions, 105 mortar, rocket and artillery systems, 57 supply routes, 50 manufacturing facilities for improvised explosive device and vehicle borne improvised explosive device, 31 command and control nodes, 26 vehi cles, 19 weapons caches, 18 mortar launching sites, 18 petroleum oil and lubricant storage facilities, 11 heavy and light weapon systems, eight reservoirs and tankers for petroleum oil and lubricants, eight pieces of heavy equipment, seven vehicle borne improvised explosive devices, six tunnels and caves, four buildings, two unmanned aircraft systems, one weapons facility, one logistics hub and one fuel storage. A strike, as defined in the Coalition release, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative effect in that location.
On 18 July 2019 Moscow noted the transfer of 540 military contractors in June 2019 alone and said the mercenaries are tasked with protecting oil facilities and training militants loyal to the US. Russia says the US is replacing regular army troops with private military contractors in northern Syria, putting the total number of mercenaries in the thousands. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news conference that in June alone 540 people including 70 including instructors and commanders entered the country. "The number of personnel of PMCs [private military companies] in Syria exceeds 4,000,” she said. “The transfer of mercenaries is carried out by car in groups of 12-16 people.” Mercenaries were brought in to train militants loyal to the US and protect oil facilities, according to Zakharova.
Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Special Operations Forces detained more than 35 Daesh affiliates and removed associated terrorist materials from the battlefield in august 2019. Attacking Daesh fighters and their support networks across Iraq enables the Government of Iraq’s continued stability and reconstruction efforts, furthering the enduring defeat of Daesh. “We know they are hiding in the ungoverned spaces [and that] Daesh is still trying to regenerate,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Eric Hill, Special Operations Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve commander. “We’ll stay here and support the ISF until no longer needed.”
Since the beginning of operations in 2014, the Coalition and partner forces have liberated nearly 110,000 square kilometers (42,471 square miles) from Daesh, eliminating their self-proclaimed territorial caliphate and freeing 7.7 million people from Daesh oppression. The Coalition will continue to work with partner forces to deny Daesh any physical space and influence in the region as well as deny Daesh the resources they need to resurge. The Coalition conducted 34,706 strikes between August 2014 and the end of October 2019. During this period, based on information available, CJTF-OIR assesses at least 1,347 civilians have been unintentionally killed by Coalition actions since the beginning of Operation Inherent Resolve. This number was reassessed in November 2019 to correct administrative errors and to accurately reflect the total number of credibly assessed civilian casualties.
One U.S. civilian contractor was killed and several U.S. service members and Iraqi personnel were wounded in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk hosting Coalition troops, on Dec. 27 at 7:20 p.m. (Iraqi time). Iraqi Security Forces are leading the response and investigation.
The US military carried out "defensive strikes" in Iraq and Syria against the Kataib Hezbollah armed group, the Pentagon said 29 December 2019, two days after a US civilian contractor was killed in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base. "In response to repeated Kata'ib Hizbollah (KH) attacks on Iraqi bases that host Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) coalition forces, US forces have conducted precision defensive strikes against five KH facilities in Iraq and Syria that will degrade KH's ability to conduct future attacks against OIR coalition forces," chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.
The targets - three in Iraq and two in Syria - included weapons storage facilities and command locations used to plan and execute attacks, the statement added. The US had accused the group of a rocket attack on Friday that killed a US civilian contractor and injured four US service members and two members of the Iraqi Security Forces near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Hoffman said the raids carried out by the US would limit the group's ability to carry out future attacks on Americans and their Iraqi government allies. The Defense Department gave no details immediately on how the strikes were conducted.
U.S. airstrike target HQ of 45th & 46th Brigades of #Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF) in Iraq. Abu Ali al-Khazali, close to #Iran's IRGC Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani, was reportedly killed in the U.S. attacks targeting Tehran-backed Kataeb Hezbollah sites in al-Qaim, a town in Iraq adjacent to the Syria border.
Although this was the first time the United States has officially claimed responsibility for attacks on al-Hashed al-Shaabi bases, this is not the first attack on these sites. In recent months, Iraq's al-Hashed al-Sha'abi positions have been targeted repeatedly by anonymous aircraft. Earlier, Iraqi parliamentarians had said that the United States and Israel were behind the attacks. Al-Hashed al-Shaabi was formed in 2008 in response to an Iraqi authority's fatwa aimed at fighting the terrorist group ISIS. In recent years, US officials had expressed concern about the growing popularity and promotion of the group's position in the Iraqi Armed Forces, and many of its figures have been on the sanctions list.
Iraqi Hezbollah battalions released a statement in response to US attacks. Hezbollah battalions said in a statement: The evil American crows have launched a rape that targeted our western frontier forces. This American aggression is disregard for Iraq's sovereignty and the dignity of its people. Iraqi Hezbollah battalions called for military and security forces and grassroots and national bases to expel the American enemy from the country to create a new page of dignity.
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