WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2017 — While Iraqi security forces and Syrian Democratic Forces have destroyed the idea of an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ‘Caliphate,’ much work remains to be done against the terror group, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Robert Manning said today.
Over the weekend, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that Iraqi security forces — including Kurdish peshmerga forces — had defeated ISIS in his country.
Abadi is proud of his troops who fought pitched battles — from Beiji to Mosul to Fallujah to Ramadi to Hit to Qaim — to defeat the group, which once threatened Baghdad.
“Iraqi security forces, to include the peshmerga, fought against a determined enemy and sacrificed greatly since 2014,” Manning said. “We congratulate all those who fought and remember all those who died to liberate Iraq from vicious ISIS territorial control.”
Iraqi forces were caught off guard when ISIS swooped in in 2014 and the terror group stopped just 30 miles from the Iraqi capital. The Iraqi government asked for aid, and coalition forces led by the United States stepped up. Soon, service members from around the world arrived to train Iraqi security forces, provide supplies and equipment and provide air support that stopped ISIS in its tracks.
As Iraqi forces gained more confidence, they began attacking ISIS and pushing the terror group back.
At the same time across the border in Syria, Kurds and Arabs — sick of ISIS’ brutality — formed the SDF. Coalition support enabled the group to take the fight to ISIS in areas that were once the terror group’s stronghold.
Now, Iraqi security forces and the SDF have taken back all the territory once held by ISIS. U.S. officials said there are fewer than 3,000 ISIS adherents in Iraq and Syria, with most of those in Syria.
The SDF and Iraqi forces — with coalition support — have liberated 7.7 million people from ISIS over the past three years.
But now is not the time to declare victory and go home, Manning said. “Much work remains to ensure ISIS’s lasting defeat and the government of Iraq can count on continuing coalition support as we work together to erase the stain of ISIS and to strengthen the institutions of Iraq’s national defense,” he said.
Watch this video of the “Falcon” troopers of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade in Iraq:
Paratroopers deployed in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve and assigned to
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, conducting their advise and assist mission to the Iraqi
security forces partners fighting for the military defeat of ISIS in Iraq. Col. Pat Work, commander of 2nd BCT,
82nd Abn. Div., provides an update to Paratroopers, families, and friends of the brigade. The 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div.
enables their ISF partners through the advise and assist mission, contributing planning, intelligence collection and
analysis, force protection, and precision fires to achieve the military defeat of ISIS. CJTF-OIR is the global
Coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (Army video by Cpl. Rachel Diehm)
Manning confirmed that SDF and Iraqi leaders met near their shared border Dec. 10. They reaffirmed a collective commitment as they continued clearance and security in their respective areas of operation. The meeting was held near the border crossing at Qaim, Iraq and Abu Kamal, Syria.
The representatives agreed to coordinate security along the border, and will establish a joint coordination center to ensure border security.
The SDF will continue operations to clear the northern and eastern side of the Euphrates River valley. Iraqi forces will patrol throughout Iraq to ensure there is no resurgence of the terror group or rise of a similar ideology.
There are still small numbers of ISIS adherents in Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi forces and the SDF will continue to root them out, Manning said.
Securing the border is important for both Syria and Iraq. ISIS gained a foothold in Iraq, in part, from adherents of the group infiltrating over the very porous border from Syria.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
Two Men Arrested for Planning Terrorist Attack on Trump Tower in Support of ISIS
They’re from South Carolina and Texas.
The FBI has arrested two men and charged them with planning terrorist attacks on locations such as New York’s Trump Tower in support of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Kristopher Sean Matthews of South Carolina and Jaylyn Christopher Molina of Texas have been charged with conspiring to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Matthews adopted the pseudonym Ali Jibreel, and Molina the name Abdur Rahim.
The pair allegedly plotted to attack government facilities and New York’s Trump Tower, discussing their plans in jihadist chatrooms. They were busted by federal informants within these honeypots.
“We need to stick together, we need to defeat them, we need to take a lot of casualties,” said Molina of the pair’s plotting. Molina spoke of his allegiance to ISIS in the server. “You are my enemy (America) and never will I wear your flag … but I will raise the black flag of Allah.”
They also spoke of the proposition of traveling to Syria in order to fight for ISIS, an idea that would’ve almost certainly resulted in their quick capture or death. American citizens caught fighting for ISIS on foreign battlefields have proven to be a legal nightmare for American military and civil law to manage.
Both were arrested on Monday. They face a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison, with a lifetime of supervised release.
These clowns didn’t get very far in actually planning acts of violence in support of ISIS, and they seem to have somewhat missed the boat- ISIS has largely been defeated by American-backed Kurdish militias and the Iraqi and Syrian governments. But they deserve punishment nonetheless.
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