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Pentagon Spokesman Details Progress in Defeating ISIS

January 08, 2018

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2018 — Coalition and partnered forces are building upon progress in Iraq and Syria to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the director of press operations at the Pentagon told reporters here today.

Recent developments include Iraqi forces securing more than 20 improvised explosive devices and bombmaking materials in Baghdad in the last 24 hours, Army Col. Rob Manning said.

The materials included pressure plates, ignitors and cans of explosives, he said. “These are not new IEDs, explosives, etc. As we’ve said previously, [the Iraqi forces] moved quickly to secure ISIS-held territories and establish security, with the anticipation back-clearance operations would follow,” Manning said in a written statement. “What you’re seeing now is the [Iraqis] going back in to uncover ISIS weapons caches and leftover remnants of war abandoned following as ISIS withdrew from occupied areas.”

ISIS littered Iraq and Syria with improvised explosives as it fled the battlefield, the colonel said. “Significant portions of some liberated cities remain closed to the return of citizens because fleeing terrorists have left booby traps with the express purpose of killing and injuring innocent people,” he said. “This will remain a major concern, and will require time and resources from the international community and nongovernmental organizations to assist the Iraqi and Syrian people in their return to normalcy following three-plus years of brutal ISIS rule.”

Iraqi forces cleared 20 IEDs in operations near Bashika in Ninewah province. Security operations continue in and around Tal Afar, Manning said.

In Hawijah, Iraqi forces cleared more than 11 square miles and 32 villages. Iraqi forces also killed eight ISIS terrorists and destroyed 10 ISIS fighting positions and six tunnels, he added.

Additionally, Manning noted, Iraqi forces conducted security operations and seized explosive caches with more than 45 IEDs and five suicide vests near Qaim in Anbar Province.

“The [Iraqis] conducted a large controlled detonation containing confiscated IEDs, mortar rounds, [rocket-propelled grenades] and other illegal explosives,” he said.

Coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of one engagement against ISIS targets Jan. 7, Manning said.

Progress in Syria

Coalition precision strikes in Syria killed 11 ISIS terrorists, as the Syrian Democratic Forces continued clearance operations along the eastern Euphrates River, Manning said. The SDF advanced about a half mile in the wake of heavy ISIS resistance, he reported.

Manning said coalition military forces conducted nine strikes on Jan. 7 in Syria, consisting of 14 engagements against ISIS targets.

“Near Abu Kamal, nine strikes engaged eight ISIS tactical units and destroyed two ISIS headquarters, a command-and-control center, three logistical centers, a fighting position, two [vehicle-borne bombs] and two ISIS vehicles,” Manning said.

(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)