HomeNewsArticle Display

US-led coalition airstrikes eliminate key ISIL leaders in Syria, Iraq

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have recently killed several prominent leaders of that organization, Air Force Col. John Dorrian, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman, said during a news briefing Jan. 4, 2017.

Speaking to Pentagon reporters via teleconference from Baghdad, Dorrian said precision coalition airstrikes in Mosul and other areas around Iraq have continued attacking ISIL leaders who facilitate and command and control the terrorist network.

Killing leaders degrades ISIL

“The latest examples are three ISIL facilitators and terrorist leaders from occupied cities,” he said, confirming the deaths of Ahmad Abdullah Hamad al-Mahalawi, Abu Turq, and Falah al-Rashidi.

“Al-Rishidi, struck on Dec. 4, (2016) in Mosul, (Iraq), was an ISIL leader who was involved in ISIL's use of (vehicle bombs) in Mosul,” Dorrian said. “His removal further degrades ISIL's (vehicle bomb) threat, which has been the enemy's weapon of choice for attacking Iraqi security forces and civilians.”

Al-Mahalawi, Dorrian said, was struck Dec. 21, 2016, in Qaim, Iraq, and was a “legacy” al-Qaida in Iraq member serving as an ISIL leader in Qaim.
“His removal will disrupt ISIL's ability to conduct operations along the Euphrates River Valley,” the colonel said. “This is significant because as ISIL continues to lose population centers, they want to transition toward spoiler attacks in the outlying areas of Iraq and Syria. The loss of Mahalawi degrades ISIL's ability to make that transition.”

Abu Turq was killed Dec. 4, 2016, in Sharqat, Iraq. Dorrian described him as an ISIL financial facilitator in Qanfusah, Iraq -- about 50 miles southwest of Irbil -- who had connections to ISIL leaders and ensured money reached the terrorist group.

“He was killed by an airstrike while fighting from a rooftop position in Sharqat, where he and several other fighters were moving a heavy weapon to fire upon partner forces. His removal increases pressure on the ISIL financial network, which is already severely disrupted by several hundred strikes on oil infrastructure and bulk cache sites,” he said.

In Syria, more than 100 airstrikes have occurred in the Tabqa Dam area, about 25 miles west of Raqqa, killing many ISIL fighters, including Abu Jandal al-Kuwaiti, Dorrian said.
He added, “Kuwaiti, a prominent foreign fighter and leader, had been sent to improve ISIL's control in the region in the face of (the Syrian Democratic Forces’) advance.”

ISIL unable to replace fighters, supplies

Overall, Dorrian said, the coalition-backed battles to regain Raqqa, Syria and Mosul, Iraq from ISIL control have weakened the enemy’s ability to bring in replacement fighters and supplies.

“In Syria, (the SDF), led by their Syrian Arab Coalition, are continuing their advance to isolate Raqqa along two axes, supported by coalition forces, providing advice and assistance, and coalition air power delivering counter-ISIL strikes to Raqqa's north and west,” the colonel said.

Since this phase began Dec. 9, 2016, the SDF have liberated more than 500 square miles of Syrian land, home to tens of thousands of people who have been brutalized by ISIL's rule, Dorrian said.

“Coalition airstrikes removed a significant number of ISIL fighters, more than 70 vehicles, and 200 fortifications from the battlefield. This degrades ISIL's ability to maneuver and defend the occupied cities,” he added.

Dorrian noted, recovering the Tabqa Dam from ISIL will return Syria's largest dam to its people, helping them reclaim their homes and liberty.

“We're working with our SDF partners to ensure the dam is effectively and safely recovered,” he said. “ISIL has used the dam as a headquarters, a prison for high-profile hostages, and a training and indoctrination area for leaders since they seized control of it in 2013. Loss of this key terrain will damage the enemy's prospects and legitimacy as they continue to lose territory.”

Fight in Mosul stepped up

Iraqi forces have made significant progress since beginning phase two of their operation to liberate Mosul on Dec. 29, 2016, Dorrian noted.

In this phase, Iraqi forces synchronize simultaneous attacks from three axes into the city, with elements of the Iraqi Counterterrorism Service, the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Federal Police conducting the operation, he explained.

“What we're finding is that the synchronized attacks present the enemy with more problems than they can solve, and the Iraqi security forces are making progress with the continued benefit of coalition strikes and advisers,” Dorrian said. “The axes are beginning to converge as the Iraqis make progress toward the Tigris (River).”

Engage

Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: Every inch, quart, and pound matters to the @grandslamwing EMXS Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory flight! The enti…
Twitter
.@USAF_ACC & @PACAF Airmen are practicing dynamic force employment ops during Exercise Pacific Iron. This training… https://t.co/tVThyHIDh2
Twitter
An F-16 Fighting Falcon received an in-flight software update during an Advanced Battle Management System demo at… https://t.co/PNPrxVTntf
Twitter
.@AFResearchLab is building an advanced high-power microwave weapon system to defend against increasing threats of… https://t.co/EoVbWbTIR4
Twitter
RT @Travis60AMW: Smoke on the water... or flight line... or whatever Deep Purple said 🎸 Yes, it does look this cool every time. 😎 https:/…
Twitter
The Department of the Air Force’s Chief Architect Office integrated commercial technologies to achieve decision sup… https://t.co/ddoCJB8fRF
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: Using Agile Combat Employment concepts, the @147thAttackWing transported MQ-9 aircraft/equipment over 450 miles from Hous…
Twitter
Juniper Falcon has ended. This in-person opportunity for U.S. military personnel and Israel Defense Forces to test… https://t.co/Enx1S0rI9X
Twitter
C-130 Hercules crews @374AirliftWing, Japan, helped @USArmy soldiers and @JASDF_PAO members drop from the sky durin… https://t.co/bHIdKk7yJv
Twitter
RT @GeorgiaGuard: #ICYMI: Members of the @165thAW had the opportunity to be a part of taking cadets from the Georgia Wing, Civil Air Patro…
Twitter
#ICYMI - Following guidance issued by the @CDCgov, the @DeptofDefense has directed employees working in areas of hi… https://t.co/3RUlbWvMNS
Twitter
Defenders at @EielsonAirForce Base, AK, are in a new weapons qualification course for defenders, rookies and vetera… https://t.co/jcahFIcT8J
Twitter
Excellence in all we do! https://t.co/Cp9gZucoz3
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: Accelerate, Change, or Lose: @GenCQBrownJr's call to action for the service and how Airmen can play a key role in #innovation
Twitter
Dover AFB Airmen transported 2 CH-47F Chinook helicopters to Royal Australian Air Force Base, Townsville, Australia… https://t.co/yc1fOZc3Lr
Twitter
A Cyber Operations Specialty Training and Requirements Team conference was held recently at @81trwKeeslerAFB, Miss.… https://t.co/kXMAUz5xGd
Twitter
.@HQ_AFMC released an additional $5M in support of "The AFMC We Need" initiative, empowering #Airmen to be a drivin… https://t.co/yFRwx625C5
Twitter
RT @NORADCommand: #BTF deployments are an integral part of our globally integrated defense operations that provide left-of-launch #Deterren
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: SecAF Kendall’s message to #Airmen & #Guardians on our collective responsibility to overcome COVID-19 ⬇️ For resources…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Good enough today will fail tomorrow. #acceleratechangeorlose https://t.co/5dAU3Q9Ouy
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,355,508
Follow Us