The Guardian has received exclusive footage of the brave firefight between U.S. special forces, Kurdish forces and ISIS that led to the death of U.S. Navy SEAL Charles Keating.
Despite being in an “assist and advise” role in the fight against the Islamic State, United States forces can still be seen fighting in direct combat with ISIS fighters.
The video was taken by a cell phone and provided to the Guardian by a lieutenant of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces. One of the men shooting some of the video was Lieutenant Saad, who afterwards praised United States forces by saying “if it was not for the American firepower, we would have more casualties. They are really good fighters.”
Peshmerga forces and the United States special forces can be seen taking cover behind a truck just outside of the town of Tel Skuf where the. The Kurdish men were told to save their bullets while a U.S. troop can be heard asking for a gun.
Unfortunately, as a result of the firefight, Navy SEAL, Charles Keating was killed after he was struck in a direct fight with ISIS fighters after they pushed through Peshmerga forces.
A Blackhawk can be seen touching down in between Kurdish and American positions to take away the wounded. It is unclear if Keating was amongst the wounded that was put into the helicopter.
The United States officially has over 4,000 troops in Iraq, but the number seems to be closer to 6,000 after President Obama recently added another 250 special forces to the fight in an advisory position. He stated,”they’re not going to be leading the fight on the ground, but they will be essential in providing the training and assisting local forces that continue to drive [Isis] back.”
With the intensity of the fight against ISIS increasing, due to the details provided by military command and frontline forces, American forces are taking up a larger combat role as opposed to their assist and advise role.
Keating was a part of the Quick Reaction Force which was tasked with the duty to get the Americans that were already embroiled in the fight out of there. However, upon arriving, with the intensity of the fight increasing, Keating had to join the fight to assist the troops in withdrawing.
The firefight lasted for over 12 hours and there were multiple stages that took place. At around 6:00 A.M, ISIS fighters bridged the gap in a peshmerga trench that was there to divide Kurdish territory from ISIS territory.
According to Kurdish officer Major Ibrahim, “in the past, when they attacked, they tried to fill up the trench beyond our berms with a bulldozer, but this time was different.” This time he said “there was a convoy of Isis humvees and there was a mobile bridge in a truck.”
During the fight, Dlovan Jaffar, a Peshmerga fighter said of the fight, “we cornered three Isis militants inside a house, but then one of them blew himself up killing the other two.”
At the end of the fight, 10 Peshmerga fighters had been killed and up to 30 had been wounded. Colonel Steve Warren, the spokesman for the command operating the war against ISIS put the death toll for ISIS fighters at 58.
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