image U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Liane Hatch

US-led coalition ramps up fight against ISIS

The Foreign Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS are set to meet on November 14 for what the U.S. State Department is billing as “an extraordinary meeting.” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will host the talks in Washington, D.C., which are set “to review next steps in the joint campaign to achieve the enduring defeat of ISIS.”

According to a State Department press announcement to TV7, the “Ministers will meet for strategy discussions on the continued fight against ISIS in the post-liberation era and following the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with a particular focus on recent developments in northeast Syria and their relationship to stability and security of the region.” Moreover, the statement stressed that “The D-ISIS Coalition remains vitally important to our efforts and our commitment, as a Coalition, to this effort remains unwavering,” and reaffirmed “The United States is determined to prevent a resurgence of ISIS in Syria and Iraq and continues to work with the Global Coalition to destroy ISIS remnants and thwart its global ambitions.”

Secretary Pompeo described Baghdadi’s death by U.S. Special Forces in northwest Syria on October 27 as “a great day for United States, the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, and people all across the world who have suffered far too long from the cruelty of terrorism.” America’s top diplomat asserted that Baghdadi “met the fate that he long-deserved,” following “the path of scores of other ISIS leaders that have been removed from the battlefield and can no longer commit heinous atrocities or spread their vile ideology of hatred to poison and recruit vulnerable minds.”  Baghdadi’s “evil acts of beheadings, enslavement of women, rape, torture, and pure brutality follows him to his grave,” said Pompeo.

After noting that “there is still work left to do to ensure ISIS’s enduring defeat,” the U.S. Secretary of State said the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump “came to Washington committed to applying relentless pressure on terrorists around the world” and “destroyed ISIS’s so-called caliphate earlier this year” while “working with the Global Coalition.”

He concluded his remarks saying that “Baghdadi’s demise is further evidence — available for all to see — that the United States will not stop in the pursuit of bringing evil to justice and delivering on our promise to do everything in our power to keep America safe and to bring this scourge to its knees,” emphasizing that “This success underscores the importance of our continued D-ISIS mission in Syria and our determination to continue working with our partners in the Global Coalition to pursue ISIS wherever they may be, and ensuring its enduring defeat.”

The Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve and its partner forces are continuing to achieve success in combating the remnants of ISIS (also known by its Arabic acronym, Daesh) across Iraq and Syria. According to a press release obtained by TV7 from the United States Central Command Defense Force (CENTOM GLOBAL), its partners “are leading the way to find and eliminate ISIS fighters, finance, logistics, and media networks,” while “The Coalition is here to advise, assist, and enable our partners to achieve the enduring defeat of Daesh.”

“With Coalition support, our partners in Iraq and Syria conduct operations every day to root out Daesh remnants,” said Col. Myles B. Caggins III, Coalition Military Spokesman, who added that “We coordinate every day with our partners to prevent Daesh from regaining lost territory, training and recruiting operatives, and financing and conducting attacks worldwide.”

There were several significant highlights in the battle against ISIS in Iraq during the week of October 23-30, 2019.  CENTCOM’s list is detailed as follows, including links to photographs of the missions.

  • 23 Oct.: During a search operation in Wadi al-Hijjah (Anbar Province), the 7th Infantry Division destroyed three ISIS bed down facilities containing an explosive belt, 10 kilograms of C-4 explosive material, a 20 meter detonating cord, a detonating fuse, a rifle, food, an improvised explosive device and one 82 mm mortar shell.

  • 24 Oct.: The Diyala Operations Command, through the 5th Infantry Division, the Diyala Police Directorate and the security agencies, began a task of raiding and searching for Daesh remnants within the villages and farms of al-Mukhiasah, Abu Karma, Kusaiba, Boudja, Abdulhamid, Abu al-Khanazeer and other villages within the areas of their responsibility. Five hideouts containing five explosive devices, food, clothes and mattresses were destroyed on site.

  • 24 Oct.: A force from al-Jazeera Operations Command, accompanied by a force from al-Sakranh crowd, were able to find a cache of explosive materials and munitions from Daesh remnants in the desert of al-Jazeera. The Engineering Field Squadron was able to detonate the munitions successfully at the site with no damages or injuries.

  • 27 Oct.: The Kirkuk Directorate Intelligence and Security, field detachment, worked in coordination with the 61st Brigade Special Division to arrest a terrorist in the Rahimawa area in the Kirkuk province. The terrorist was delivering weapons and ammunition to other terrorist members and also taking money from locals through threats and blackmail.

  • 29 Oct.: A detachment in the 2nd Battalion, 55th Infantry Brigade, 17th Division, seized a cache of munitions and explosives in eastern Radwaniyah in the Abu Ghraib district west of Baghdad. The forces seized 250 machine gun bullets, 25 mortar rounds, explosive devices, explosive belts and 11 phone SIM cards.

(Directorate General of Intelligence and Security/ Iraqi Ministry of Defense Statement)

  • 29 Oct.: The 7th Infantry Division, under the command of the infantry Brig. Gen. Ra’ad Mahmoud Abed Bishr, launched a landing operation in Wadi al-Ja’al, Sin al-Theeb, and Wadi Horan. The operation resulted in the death of three terrorists and the arrest of two suicide bombers with explosive belts. The force seized two explosive belts, multiple rifles and two motorcycles.

 During the week of October 23-30, 2019, there have been the following actions in Syria:

  • 23 Oct.: Maghaweir Thowra destroyed a shipment of narcotics that entered the region from outside the 55-kilometer area.

  • 27 Oct.: Abu Hesen al Mouhjir, a senior assistant for al-Bagdadi, was targeted in a village named Ein al Baat near Jarablus city. The mission was conducted via direct coordination of SDF Intel & U.S. Forces as part of the ongoing operations to hunt Daesh leaders.

The CENTCOM statement concluded with the vow that “Removing Daesh fighters, weapons and IED material remains a top priority, as Daesh continues to plot attacks against innocent civilians and our partners throughout Iraq and northeast Syria.”

By Erin Viner