The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

New wave of air strikes launched against ISIS


The United States launched a new wave of airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants in Syria, marking a fifth consecutive day of aerial bombardment in the country, a defense official told Agence France Press Friday.

“I can confirm U.S. air operations are ongoing in Syria,” a senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

The mission is now similar to U.S.-led air raids undertaken in Iraq, with “near continuous” combat flight operations over Syria, the official said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday’s air strikes targeted militants in the city of Homs, marking the first bombardment in an area under government control.

Washington has been keen not to let Assad’s forces exploit the air campaign against ISIS to take the upper hand in the more than three-year-old civil war.

Militants were also targeted in the town of Minbej, east of Aleppo for the first time in addition to several targets in the ISIS-heartland of Raqa, the observatory said.

“At least 31 explosions were heard in Raqa city and its surroundings,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

The U.S. military’s Central Command, which leads American forces in the Middle East, did not issue any details of the latest air strikes.

Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel told reports on Friday that the U.S., along with Arab warplanes, had carried out more than 40 bombing strikes this week against ISIS, including attacks on the organization’s oil refineries.

“Combined with our ongoing efforts in Iraq, these strikes will continue to deny ISIL (ISIS) freedom of movement and challenge its ability to plan, direct, and sustain its operations,” Hagel said.

The air strikes in Syria, marking the first U.S.-led military operation in the country, have disrupted the group’s infrastructure, its command and control and logistical abilities, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Friday.

The U.S. had carried out a series of air strikes against ISIS targets in Iraq in August, focusing on protecting American interests and personnel, assisting Iraqi refugees and securing critical infrastructure.

[With AFP]