This past week the Iraqi Air Force began carrying out coordinated air strikes on Islamic State positions in Syria alongside the Syrian government. A Tweet from the Iraqi Air Force read, “Based on the orders from Abadi, the commander-in-chief, our air forces by using F-16s bombarded ISIS terrorists’ positions in Syria on the border with Iraq on Thursday.” Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s Prime Minister, had hinted that Iraqi military forces may soon be aiding in combating terrorism in Syria earlier this month.
According to Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool of the Iraqi Air Force, the airstrike missions were based out of Iraq and done cross-border with the Syrian government’s permission. The United States led anti-Islamic State coalition provided target intelligence for the strikes for the operational forces however the mission was, “planned and executed by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command.” The Iraqi Air Force provided a video later that featured an F-16 fighter jet (adorned with an Iraqi flag on the tail) staging for take off on a military flight line.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has tweeted, “Our heroic air force carried out on Thursday in Syria near [the] Iraqi border deadly airstrikes against Daesh’s terrorist gangs.” Iraq has yet to disclose specific target locations or their exact contents. Abadi had ordered air strikes to be carried out in Syria last year in February against ISIS positions as well. Despite Abadi declaring victory over the Islamic State last December as Mosul was liberated by Iraqi military forces, the attacks from sleeper cells and pockets of resistance seem to have increased. The al-Anbar province in Iraq and Deir ez-Zor region have experienced militant based attacks over the past week according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Kirkuk has been a hotbed for ISIS based insurgent activity as well given its current state of dispute by local nationals.
Featured Image Courtesy of Senior Airman Jordan Castelan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons