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Operation Inherent Resolve airstrikes proving effective in Iraq, Syria

By By Marine Cpl. Jordan Belser, U.S. Central Command

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Nov. 20, 2015 — MACDILL AFB, Fla. (November 20, 2015) — A coalition air campaign and the enabling of indigenous ground forces has helped push the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) back in Iraq and Syria, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said here today.

While speaking with Pentagon reporters, U.S. Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder outlined the current military campaign approach against ISIL and highlighted progress made in the region.

“This combination of advising and assisting well-planned ground operations and providing them with precision strike capability is working,” Ryder said. “ISIL has clearly lost ground where these forces are operating.”

The effects of coalition airstrikes and partner ground operations have left ISIL in a defensive crouch, he said.

“We are now putting pressure on the enemy on multiple fronts,” Ryder said. “As a result, ISIL is forced to make tough resourcing decisions.”

Among the targeted fronts are command and control nodes (to include ISIL leadership), logistics areas, financing mechanisms such as oil collection, and communications equipment.

Coalition aircraft have been “heavily involved” in several different operations, including anti-ISIL efforts in Ramadi, degrading oil revenue through oil strikes, enabling Peshmerga forces to retake Sinjar, supporting Syrian Democratic Forces' pressure against ISIL in northern Syria, as well as an increase in French strikes against key ISIL targets in Ar Raqqah, Ryder said.

In the past month alone U.S. and coalition partners have struck 20 headquarters buildings, more than 100 logistics areas, nearly 100 weapons caches, and key oil supply points, Ryder said.

“It is making it harder for ISIL to move much-needed supplies and replacement fighters around the battlefield,” Ryder said. “It is helping to curb the flow of foreign fighters and it is crippling his ability to access a number of his key sources of revenue.”

Ryder said as indigenous ground forces have become more active, the Coalition has also increased its number of airstrikes. This past week, Coalition forces registered the highest seven-day total weapons expenditure since the beginning of Operation Inherent Resolve.

“With a 97 percent plus assessed accuracy, we are hitting exactly what we are aiming at,” Ryder said. “Precise aim-points in a modern and devastatingly effective coalition air campaign.”

Ryder admits there is still more work to do in the fight against ISIL, but says the command is encouraged by recent gains and is confident the right approach is being taken to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria.