BY ANISSA GROUT
CURRENT AFFAIRS EDITOR
Since the operation to retake Mosul was launched on Oct. 17, it has turned into the battle to also retake the city of Raqqa.
On Nov. 6, it was reported by Reuters that a U.S. backed alliance of Syrian armed groups had launched an operation to retake the northern city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State in Syria. They further reported that the U.S. would be coordinating air strikes with Syria Democratic forces (SDF).
On Nov. 30, it was reported by Iraqi News that Joint Special Operations Command announced on Wednesday the liberation of 22 neighborhoods located on the eastern side of Mosul. Iraqi News further stated joint security forces backed by the Army Air Force and international coalition troops continue to liberate parts of the city of Mosul from ISIS control.
In a U.S. Central Command press release on Dec. 2, they stated that:
On Dec. 1, Coalition military forces conducted eight strikes against ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq. In Syria, Coalition military forces conducted four strikes using attack aircraft, bomber, and fighter aircraft against ISIL targets. Additionally in Iraq, Coalition military forces conducted four strikes coordinated with and in support of the Government of Iraq using attack, bomber, and fighter aircraft and rocket artillery against ISIL targets.
The most recent press release from U.S. Central Command on Dec. 7, detailed the locations of where the airstrikes hit. As of Dec. 6, Coalition military forces had conducted 18 strikes against ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq:
- Near Abu Kamal, two strikes destroyed two oil wellheads and an oil pump jack.
- Near Ar Raqqah, three strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units and destroyed two storage sheds, a vehicle, and a decoy tank.
- Near Ayn Isa, three strikes engaged an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed an artillery system, and disabled an ISIL VBIED (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device), also known as a car bomb.
- Near Dayr Az Zawr, three strikes destroyed four wellheads and two oil trucks.
- Near Manbij, one strike destroyed an ISIL decoy artillery system.
- Near Palmyra, one strike destroyed a vehicle.
- Near Bayji, one strike destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun fighting position.
- Near Mosul, three strikes engaged an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed a VBIED facility and an excavator, damaged three supply routes, and suppressed two tactical units.
- Near Ramadi, one strike destroyed an ISIL VBIED and a homemade explosives cache.
There are still ongoing updates on this battle.