WASHINGTON, May 21, 2018 —
In Operation Roundup, Syrian Democratic Forces continue to defeat remnants of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters in Syria’s Middle Euphrates River valley, Army Col. Rob Manning, the Pentagon’s director of press operations, told reporters today.
The SDF has also gained ground through offensive operations and occupies the majority of the ground along the border since beginning Operation Roundup on May 1, Manning said.
The SDF has cleared the Baghuz area of Syria and continues to reinforce battle positions there, he said, adding that the troops are also preparing for future clearance operations in the Dashiba vicinity.
“Coalition forces support the SDF’s efforts by conducting air, artillery and mortar strikes against ISIS targets,” the colonel said.
In the past 48 hours, coalition military forces conducted strikes against ISIS fighters and equipment near Abu Kamal, engaging ISIS tactical units, command and control, supply routes and fighting positions there, Manning noted.
Since the beginning of Operation Roundup, the SDF has continued to gain ground through offensive operations and occupies the majority of the Iraq-Syria border, he said.
The SDF, Manning said, has cleared more than 19 square miles of territory, bringing the total liberated area in the Euphrates River valley to more than 1,900 square miles.
As the SDF liberates territory, he added, coalition forces are working with local military and civil councils to assist in establishing security conditions on the ground, so that ISIS cannot return to terrorize the local population and reestablish safe havens to plot and carry out terror attacks.
NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan
And in Afghanistan, “the Resolute Support-NATO mission continues to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Defense and security forces, and is focused on implementing the U.S. South Asia strategy in securing Afghanistan,” Manning said.
The Afghan government remains firmly in control of Farah city, he said, noting that in addition to corps level and commando advising, an expeditionary advisory package and security forces assistance brigade advisers arrived last week to advise at the brigade, and if necessary, the battalion level.
“Afghan tactical air controllers coordinated the Afghan air force’s strikes near Farah,” Manning said, and A-29 Super Tucano aircraft conducted 20 hours of support to the Afghan-led offensive.
“Additionally,” the colonel said, “this was the first time A-29s [were] flying from both Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif, conducted airstrikes, returned to those bases, were rearmed and refueled by Afghan air force maintainers and then returned to conduct strikes near Farah city. This speaks to the growing capabilities of the Afghan air force.”
(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)