Counter-ISIL Coali­tion Pro­vides Air Sup­port in Battle for Tikrit

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - JEN PSAKI, SPOKESPER­SON:

March 25, 2015 At the re­quest of Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi, the Coali­tion to­day launched airstrikes in and around Tikrit in sup­port of Iraqi Se­cu­rity Forces ground op­er­a­tions. Th­ese strikes were de­signed to de­stroy ISIL strongholds with pre­ci­sion – pro­tect­ing in­no­cent Iraqis by min­i­miz­ing dam­age to in­fra­struc­ture, and en­abling Iraqi forces un­der Iraqi com­mand to con­tinue of­fen­sive op­er­a­tions against ISIL in the vicin­ity of Tikrit. All strikes were co­or­di­nated with the Gov­ern­ment of Iraq and Iraqi Se­cu­rity Forces through our Joint Op­er­a­tion Cen­ter in Bagh­dad.

Be­fore to­day, the Coali­tion has con­ducted 2,967 airstrikes against ISIL ter­ror­ists, 1,678 in Iraq and 1,289 in Syria. Th­ese airstrikes have had a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on ISIL – tak­ing out thou­sands of fighters, nu­mer­ous com­man­ders, nearly 1,500 ve­hi­cles and tanks, over 100 ar­tillery and mor­tar po­si­tions, and nearly 3,400 fight­ing po­si­tions, train­ing camps, and bunkers in Iraq and Syria. Airstrikes have also dam­aged close to 200 oil and gas fa­cil­i­ties - in­fra­struc­ture that in part funds ISIL’s ter­ror. In ad­di­tion, Coali­tion train­ers have be­gun train­ing Iraqi Army brigades at four sites in Iraq, and Coali­tion ad­vi­sors have helped en­able more than two dozen ground op­er­a­tions against ISIL strongholds across Iraq.

The cu­mu­la­tive ef­fect of th­ese ac­tions has been enor­mous. ISIL can no longer op­er­ate freely in roughly 25 per­cent of pop­u­lated ar­eas of Iraqi ter­ri­tory where they once could. Its mo­men­tum has been blunted, its abil­ity to mass and ma­neu­ver forces de­graded, its lead­er­ship cells elim­i­nated or pres­sured, and its sup­ply lines sev­ered. ISIL is now on the de­fen­sive in Iraq and the lives of in­no­cent Iraqis of all faiths and eth­nic­ity have been saved. As Iraqi forces in­creas­ingly mount of­fen­sive op­er­a­tions, they must do so un­der Iraqi com­mand, with con­certed ef­forts to pro­tect lo­cal pop­u­la­tions, and se­cure the hu­man rights of all Iraqi cit­i­zens as man­dated un­der the Iraqi con­sti­tu­tion and as Prime Min­is­ter Abadi and other Iraq lead­ers have pledged.

The United States and the Iraqi Gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to work to­gether on our shared goal of de­feat­ing ISIL and train­ing a pro­fes­sional na­tional se­cu­rity force that can pro­tect all the Iraqi peo­ple against ex­trem­ist threats.

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