In this 2017 photograph, we see US Army Major General James Jarrard providing assistant gunner support to a member of 5th Special Forces Group during Operation Inherent Resolve. Jarrard was commander of a Special Operations Joint Task Force at the time. This image was taken in Syria by Staff Sergeant Jacob Connor.
Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) is the U.S. military’s name for the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as Daesh. The operation began in August 2014 and continues to this day. It has involved several coalition partners, reflecting international concern about the extremist group.
The primary objective of OIR is to militarily defeat ISIS in order to stabilize areas it has terrorized and to support broader political measures to achieve lasting peace. The mission includes:
- Military Support: Coalition military forces conduct targeted airstrikes against ISIS strongholds, provide training, and advise partner forces in Iraq and Syria.
- Stabilization Efforts: Supporting efforts to restore essential services and ensure IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) can return home safely.
- Coalition Building: Working with an international coalition to share intelligence, coordinate military activities, and secure financial contributions to rebuild affected areas.
The coalition consists of over 80 countries and organizations, including NATO, the Arab League, and Interpol. Key military partners have included the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Canada, and regional allies like Jordan and the UAE.
The military strategy has largely focused on:
- Airstrikes: Targeted airstrikes against ISIS leaders, fighters, facilities, and vehicles.
- Training and Equipping Local Forces: Building the capacity of Iraqi security forces and Syrian partners to conduct operations against ISIS.
- Special Operations: Conducting specialized missions, including reconnaissance and direct action against ISIS leadership.
- 2014: The U.S. launched airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
- 2015-2016: Major campaigns to recapture key cities like Ramadi, Fallujah, and Mosul in Iraq, and Manbij and Raqqa in Syria.
- 2017-2018: Liberation of major ISIS-held territories, including Mosul and Raqqa, their self-proclaimed capitals.
- 2019-Present: Shift to stabilization efforts and targeted operations to prevent the resurgence of ISIS.
Where are we today?
Operation Inherent Resolve represents a complex and multifaceted approach to defeat ISIS. While there have been significant military successes, challenges remain in ensuring a stable and peaceful future for Iraq and Syria. The operation continues to adapt to the evolving threat posed by ISIS and related extremist groups. The collaboration and coordination of international partners remain vital in addressing the root causes of extremism and ensuring the lasting defeat of ISIS.