War on Terrorism

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Airstrikes Help Ground Forces Take Fight to ISIL, Spokesman Says

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

FORT MEADE, Md., Oct. 21, 2014 – Kurdish forces are in control of the majority of the Syrian city of Kobani despite efforts by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to take the town, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today.

Coalition airstrikes in and around the city on Syria’s border with Turkey have been augmented by an airdrop of arms to Kurdish forces fighting the terror group. Air Force planes dropped 27 of 28 pallets to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Kobani, Kirby said at a Pentagon news conference.

“ISIL forces continue to threaten [Kobani],” Kirby said. “We’re continuing to hit targets in and around there to help the Kurdish forces as they continue to fight against ISIL. So it’s still a very mixed, contested environment.”

Credit to Kurdish forces

Kirby gave credit to the Kurdish forces that have fought ISIL to a standstill.

ISIL is presenting more targets to coalition aircraft and to Iraqi forces, Kirby said. Coalition forces launched seven airstrikes yesterday, and with the weather in the region improving, Kirby said he expects more attacks on the terror group in the coming days. With better weather, “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms are able to fly a little bit more now,” he explained.

Iraqi forces make advances

In Iraq, there have been strikes in support of forces on the ground in Fallujah, at the Mosul Dam complex and in Bayji. All three are areas ISIL wants to take and hold, and at all three locations, Iraqi security forces are contesting the group. Near Bayji – the location of a massive oil refinery -- Iraqi security forces are advancing.

“Their advances over the last few days have been slowed by the weather, which is clearing, and so they're moving again, but it also has been slowed by [improvised explosive devices] -- almost 30 IEDs that they found and cleared,” Kirby said. “They are taking the fight to the enemy, and those strikes last night are indications that we're trying to support them, too.”

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