Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hagel, Italian Defense Minister Discuss ISIL Operations

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called Italian Minister of Defense Roberta Pinotti today to discuss planned Italian contributions to the fight against terrorists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement issued today.

Kirby’s statement reads as follows:

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke via telephone with Italian Minister of Defense Roberta Pinotti today. Secretary Hagel made the call to pass on his thanks regarding Italy's planned contributions to the anti-ISIL coalition in Iraq.

Secretary Hagel thanked Italy for its proposed contributions, stating that U.S. Central Command will work with Italy's military commanders to determine how best to integrate Italy's contribution into the overall effort. The secretary also thanked Minister Pinotti for Italy's commitment to Afghanistan.

Both leaders pledged to stay in touch moving forward and to continue the close dialogue and cooperation.

Airstrikes Continue in Support of Operation Inherent Resolve

From a U.S. Central Command News Release

TAMPA, Fla., Oct. 22, 2014 – U.S. military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria yesterday and today using fighter and bomber aircraft to conduct six airstrikes, U.S. Central Command officials reported.

Separately, officials added, U.S. and partner nation military forces conducted 12 airstrikes yesterday and today using fighter, bomber, attack and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists in Iraq.

In Syria, six airstrikes near Kobani destroyed ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL building and an ISIL logistical center.

In Iraq, 12 airstrikes took place in the vicinity of Mosul Dam, destroying a large ISIL unit, an ISIL mortar launching position, three ISIL vehicles and multiple ISIL fighting positions.

All aircraft exited the strike areas safely. Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports.

The strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community. The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group's ability to project power and conduct operations, Centcom officials said.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Airstrikes Help Ground Forces Take Fight to ISIL, Spokesman Says

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

FORT MEADE, Md., Oct. 21, 2014 – Kurdish forces are in control of the majority of the Syrian city of Kobani despite efforts by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to take the town, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today.

Coalition airstrikes in and around the city on Syria’s border with Turkey have been augmented by an airdrop of arms to Kurdish forces fighting the terror group. Air Force planes dropped 27 of 28 pallets to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Kobani, Kirby said at a Pentagon news conference.

“ISIL forces continue to threaten [Kobani],” Kirby said. “We’re continuing to hit targets in and around there to help the Kurdish forces as they continue to fight against ISIL. So it’s still a very mixed, contested environment.”

Credit to Kurdish forces

Kirby gave credit to the Kurdish forces that have fought ISIL to a standstill.

ISIL is presenting more targets to coalition aircraft and to Iraqi forces, Kirby said. Coalition forces launched seven airstrikes yesterday, and with the weather in the region improving, Kirby said he expects more attacks on the terror group in the coming days. With better weather, “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms are able to fly a little bit more now,” he explained.

Iraqi forces make advances

In Iraq, there have been strikes in support of forces on the ground in Fallujah, at the Mosul Dam complex and in Bayji. All three are areas ISIL wants to take and hold, and at all three locations, Iraqi security forces are contesting the group. Near Bayji – the location of a massive oil refinery -- Iraqi security forces are advancing.

“Their advances over the last few days have been slowed by the weather, which is clearing, and so they're moving again, but it also has been slowed by [improvised explosive devices] -- almost 30 IEDs that they found and cleared,” Kirby said. “They are taking the fight to the enemy, and those strikes last night are indications that we're trying to support them, too.”