SOUTHWEST ASIA, Jan. 23, 2018 —
Precision strikes killed an estimated 145-150 Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists near Shafah, Syria, Jan. 20, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
The precision strikes were a culmination of extensive intelligence preparation to confirm an ISIS headquarters and command-and-control center in an exclusively ISIS-occupied location in the contested Middle Euphrates River valley, officials said.
Syrian Democratic Forces on the ground, who continue to be engaged in heavy fighting against hard-core ISIS remnants attempting to regroup, assisted in target observation prior to the strikes, according to officials. The combination of intelligence and continuous eyes on the target ensured no accidental engagement of nonmilitary personnel.
Heavy Concentration of ISIS Fighters
The ISIS headquarters contained a heavy concentration of ISIS fighters who appear to have been massing for movement.
“The strikes underscore our assertion that the fight to liberate Syria is far from over,” said Army Maj. Gen. James B. Jarrard, commanding general of Special Operations Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.
“Our SDF partners are still making daily progress and sacrifices, and together we are still finding, targeting and killing ISIS terrorists’ intent on keeping their extremist hold on the region. We cannot take our focus off our mission, and we must not lose our momentum in taking these terrorists off the battlefield and preventing them from resurfacing somewhere else,” Jarrard said.
Though ISIS has lost more than 98 percent of the land it once claimed as part of its so-called physical caliphate, the group continues to demonstrate the ability to mass large numbers in its attempt to retain a stronghold in Syria, officials said.
The continued discovery of ISIS concentrations and facilities reinforces the coalition’s commitment to achieving the lasting defeat of ISIS, according to officials.