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14 octobre 2015 3 14 /10 /octobre /2015 07:35
Afghanistan: The Kunduz Conundrum

Militant Attack and Support Zones in Afghanistan April-October 6, 2015 - credits ISW

 

October 13, 2015: Strategy Page

 

The sudden increase of Taliban activity in northern Afghanistan, especially the temporary seizure of Kunduz (a city of 145,000), is a new aspect of an old problem; Taliban efforts to make the north safer for smuggling heroin out of the country. Charging into Kunduz on September 28 th was unusual, because it was an expensive operation in that it gets a lot of Taliban fighters killed or captured and is soon undone once the security forces send enough reinforcements to the city. And that’s what happened. It got worse when several similar attacks failed to get into the city they were after.  Such spectacular attacks are mainly for terrorizing the local population, especially politicians and business owners, into being more cooperative. The basic problem for the Taliban and the drug gangs they work for is that they don’t want to run the country but do need free access to keep the drug business going. This is especially true of the north, where the locals have always been more anti-drugs and hostile to the Talban.

 

The northerners must be terrorized into subservience. With the foreign troops gone the drug gangs and the Taliban can operate with a lot more freedom (from interference and heavy losses from air strikes). You can see how the drug gangs are controlling all of this because the locations where the Taliban are most active are the ones most crucial to drug gang profits (which the Taliban share). Thus the smuggling routes to Central Asia, Pakistan and Iran are more frequently the scene of Taliban violence. The official Taliban line is that this is all for the purpose of putting the Taliban back in charge of the country. The reality is that most Taliban are content to make a good living off the heroin trade. That this cripples the economy and hurts the majority of Afghans does not bother members of the drug gangs or the Taliban. This is curse of Afghanistan, where the country has long suffered from a lack of cooperation and efforts to curb the ancient chaos. This is particularly the case in the north, where local warlords (often politicians) is strong and while these guys tend to be anti-drug and anti-Taliban they are definitely not anti-making-money. The impact on Afghanistan can be seen by the fact that unemployment has risen (over a third of Afghans are unemployed) and the number fleeing the country is increasing. About 10,000 Afghans a day are applying for passports, the first step is leaving to legally (or illegally) reaching another country and a new home. Iran reports that about 2,000 Afghans a day illegally enter Iran, often on their way to a more distant country (usually in the West). All this is fine with the Taliban and drug gangs because most of the people leaving are very hostile to the Taliban and drug gangs.

 

Normally the Taliban, or local drug gangs only have a lot of control in a few of the 373 districts (each province is composed of districts) in Afghanistan. The Taliban are active in 10-15 percent of districts, mainly in the south (Helmand and Kandahar, where most of the heroin is produced) and the east (where many Pakistan/ISI supported Islamic terrorist groups operate) and increasingly in the north. The north is always a problem because the drug gangs have to deal with the security forces, local warlords and a strong tradition of local defense militias (except in the cities).

 

Eastern Afghanistan is also the main transit route for drug exports and those drugs (heroin, opium and a few others) generates the cash that keeps the Taliban a major problem. There is also significant Taliban activity in the north, where another major drug smuggling route goes through Central Asia. But the main route is in the east, which goes to the Pakistani port of Karachi and thence the world. Populous or heavily trafficked districts usually have enough police, soldiers or pro-government militias nearby to keep the Taliban out of the towns that serve as district capitals. But in remote, thinly populated districts it is different and a Taliban force can sneak in and take over for a while, grabbing some media attention along the way.

 

The Taliban have other problems and have formed special units to search for and destroy ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) groups operating in eastern Afghanistan. Taliban problems with former Taliban (including most of the non-Afghans, mainly from Central Asia and Chechnya) who have left to form local branches of ISIL have gotten worse over the last year. ISIL groups are using tactics aimed at making the Taliban look bad. For example the ISIL men do not terrorize local villagers and pay for any supplies or services they need. The ISIL men point out that the Taliban have become corrupted by working with drug gangs and are no better than bandits. This resonates with the Pushtun tribesmen but there is fear that ISIL will soon turn to enforcing strict lifestyle rules, something the Taliban have backed away from (because of sustained popular resistance). That has not happened yet and currently ISIL concentrates on staying alive in the face of Taliban and government attacks. The Taliban tries to keep this war with ISIL a secret but the news gets out (often via cell phone) and spreads. ISIL has openly declared war on the Taliban and gains some traction with accusations that the Taliban were created and still work for Pakistan. This is largely true, but the Taliban also work for local drug gangs. ISIL is aware of that but knows that the Pakistani connection is more of an issue to most Afghans. Yet the growing presence of ISIL in Afghanistan is also bad news to many Afghans because ISIL is basically Islamic terrorists who have become even more violent and uncompromising.

 

The defections to ISIL began in late 2014 when a few Taliban leaders (especially field commanders who have armed followers and know how to fight) defected to ISIL and were soon at war with a Taliban they saw as sell-outs and reactionary Islamic radical pretenders. Some of these new ISIL groups appear to have modified their stance on the drug trade as even ISIL fanatics have operating expenses and in a few cases ISIL has replaced the Taliban as drug gang hired guns. ISIL leadership in Syria opposes this and has created a cash pipeline to provide money for operating expenses and make it unnecessary to have any friendly dealings with criminal gangs of any sort. The drug gangs aren’t taking sides in the Taliban/ISIL feud because for a drug lord it is all just business. Now ISIL is using more direct attacks on nearby Taliban factions in what appears to be a sustained effort to replace the Taliban. If the local ISIL can maintain other sources of income they could eventually become a threat to the drug gangs. The drug lords don’t believe it will ever come to that because ISIL in Syria is under growing attack and most governments (and many rival Islamic terror groups) are constantly attacking these ISIL cash pipelines and will eventually cut off the money supply. At that point the Afghan ISIL groups will be vulnerable to destruction or corruption.

 

One thing warlords, the Taliban, drug gangs and ISIL can agree on is the need to halt the American UAV operations and air operations in general. Not only do these persistent UAVs and aircraft constantly search for, and often find, people they are looking for but often quickly fire very accurate and effective missiles. This has become a major problem for leaders of all these criminal or Islamic terror groups. Even if you manage to avoid the missiles you do so by severely restricting your movement, communications and other activities. Because the UAV operations are run solely by the Americans bribes don’t work. Worse, Afghan officials who are not on the payroll often provide the Americans with tips about where potential targets are. In response more cash and threats are used against vulnerable officials to obtain some public protests against the UAV operations. This does not impress locals, most of whom back the UAV operations, but the protests connect with some foreign media and politicians.

 

Another problem the drug gangs currently have is a global heroin price war caused by too much heroin coming out of Afghanistan, Burma and other new sources. Heroin is a lucrative business and more people want market share. This means Afghan drug gangs have to produce and move more opium and heroin in return for less money. That is bad for business on many levels, especially on the retail end (where a lot more users overdose and that discourages potential new users). Afghanistan is still the major (over 80 percent of the market) producer but tribal rebels in northern Burma are expanding production and currently account for about ten percent of the global heroin supply. Other significant (and growing) producers are in in Pakistan, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico.

 

While a few large gangs and warlords control the heroin business, there are other illegal enterprises available to local hustlers. One of the most popular of these is illegal mining. There are over 2,000 illegal mines operating throughout Afghanistan and these have grown so numerous that legal mining has declined. The major problem legal mining encounters is poor security and infrastructure which is sustained by lots of corruption. Small, private mines increased production, as did illegal mines. Since 2010 there have been efforts to get large-scale legal mining operations going. While there are believed to be over a trillion dollars of minerals underground, you need an honest and efficient government before foreign firms will invest tens of billions to set up the large mines and build roads and railroads to get the goodies out, and equipment in. These mines generate tremendous revenue for the government and lots of good jobs. That won't happen as long as the drug gangs dominate the south. This is actually old news, as there have been several surveys of the country since World War II and the mineral deposits were, at least among geologists, common knowledge. Some have tried to get large scale operations going and all, so far, have failed. But because of American encouragement in 2010 the Afghan government called for foreign firms to make offers. There was some interest but the mining companies soon encountered the same fate of past efforts (corruption and lack of infrastructure). Meanwhile the small scale mines continue with the expensive assistance of the criminal underground.

 

Afghanistan accused Pakistan of helping plan and carry out the recent Taliban raid on Kunduz. The Pakistanis deny any involvement, but they always do and have a long and proven record of interfering in Afghan internal affairs. Afghanistan also believes that a lot of the recent Taliban violence in Afghanistan was made possible by the thousands of non-Pakistani Islamic terrorists fleeing North Waziristan and moving to Afghanistan. There, many of these foreign Islamic terrorists have joined the Afghan Taliban and provided an infusion of very dedicated and dangerous fighters. Afghan intelligence believes that the Afghan Taliban leadership is still operating from a sanctuary in southwest Pakistan, something Pakistan continues to deny despite lots of evidence showing senior Taliban are in the area (Baluchistan). Pakistan says it is trying to get the peace talks with the Afghan Taliban restarted but many Afghans believe it was the Pakistanis who caused the talks to collapse before they could get started. That’s because the main reason for the collapse of the peace talks back in July was the unexpected revelation that Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar had died in a Pakistani hospital in 2013. This revelation caused a split, still not healed, within the Afghan Taliban leadership. To most Afghans it is obvious Pakistan was behind all this. Currently the Afghan government is not willing to reconsider peace talks with the Afghan Taliban until Pakistan cuts its support of, and control over, Islamic terror groups (like the Taliban and Haqqani Network) operating in Afghanistan.

 

October 12, 2015: South of Kabul some 2,000 Taliban, coming from several different directions, tried to rush in and seize control of Ghazni city, which is about the same size as Kunduz. This attack failed with none of the Taliban groups getting any closer than five kilometers from the city. Meanwhile troops and police are still fighting Taliban in some Kunduz neighborhoods.

The Taliban went online and declared war on Tolo and 1TV, two of the major TV networks in Afghanistan because the two networks reported incidences of Taliban raping women when they briefly occupied Kunduz.

 

October 11, 2015: In Kabul a Taliban suicide bomber tried to attack a British military convoy but failed. The bomber was killed and three civilians wounded.

 

October 10, 2015: In the south (Kandahar) the security forces detected the Taliban assembling several hundred men in a rural area of Shurabak, near the Pakistan border. Air strikes were called in, followed by a ground operation. The operations found over a hundred Taliban dead and more than fifty wounded by the attack.

 

October 7, 2015: In Kabul police arrested two Haqqani Network suicide bombers and prevented them from detonating the explosives in the car they were driving. Because of the complexity of the bomb it was decided to evacuate nearby buildings and detonated the car bomb where it was stopped.

 

October 6, 2015: The commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan ordered all troops under his command to be formally reminded of the ROE (Rules of Engagement). This is a reaction to an October 3rd incident in Kunduz where Afghan forces called in American air support against Taliban who were firing on them from a building in a hospital compound. An American AC-130 gunship responded. Despite the precision of the AC-130 fire the Taliban were operating in the midst of civilians (a favorite tactic to prevent air strikes) and 22 civilians died as well. This became a major news story and the result will be more strict application of the ROE and a lot less U.S. air support for Afghan troops and police. This makes the security forces less effective and the Taliban more so. This sort of thing is no accident. The Taliban and drug gangs have invested a lot in the local media, to make each civilian death, at the hands of foreign troops, a major story. The majority of civilian combat deaths are at the hands of the Taliban or drug gangs, and the local media plays those down (or else). It's a sweet deal for the bad guys, and a powerful battlefield tool. The civilians appreciate the attention, but the ROE doesn't reduce overall civilian deaths, because the longer the Taliban have control of civilians in a combat situations, the more they kill. The Taliban regularly use civilians as human shields, and kill those who refuse, or are suspected of disloyalty. In most parts of Afghanistan, civilians are eager to get the Taliban killed or driven away, as quickly as possible and by any means necessary. The number of civilian deaths, at the hands of NATO/Afghan forces, are spectacularly low by historical standards. The U.S. armed forces have reduced civilian casualties during combat by over 90 percent since the 1970s. This is the result of wider use of precision weapons, better communications and new tactics. The troops know this, some of the civilians know this, but the media doesn't care and the Taliban know that dead Afghan soldiers and police are not news but dead civilians are, especially if it is one of rare incidents where the Taliban was not responsible.

In Kabul police arrested a Haqqani Network suicide bomber and disabled the explosives he was carrying. The man was attempting to attack a police station. The man later admitted that he had been trained across the border in Pakistan (Peshawar).

 

October 5, 2015: Some 400 kilometers northwest of Kabul over 500 Taliban attempted to charge into the city of Maimana (the capital of Faryab province and about half the size of Kunduz). The attack was repulsed with at least 20 percent of the attackers killed or wounded.

In the east (Khost) police arrested a Haqqani Network commander they had long been seeking.

 

October 4, 2015: Security forces completed killing or driving out most of the Taliban in Kunduz. Between today and the original attack on September 28th over 300 Taliban were killed.

In Kabul police detected and killed two suicide bombers before they could reach their target.

 

September 30, 2015: Afghan security forces began moving into Kunduz to clear out Taliban raiders.

 

September 28, 2015: Up north hundreds of Taliban gunmen used surprise and the darkness of night to seize control of Kunduz City. Taliban have been trying to do this since late April. Until now the Islamic terrorists had suffered thousands of casualties and were still stuck in the city outskirts. But this time they managed to move in several large groups of gunmen undetected by Afghan intelligence and pull off a surprise attack. This is part of a decade’s long effort to establish base areas outside the south. These efforts have not gone so well but the Taliban keep trying because control of border areas, and routes to them, in the north (to Central Asia) and east (to Pakistan, the port of Karachi and then the world) are essential for the drug gangs. Most drug sales are outside of Afghanistan and these smuggling routes are essential and must be safe enough to get most of the drugs out without being seized and destroyed. Bribes do most of the work with force being applied as needed. This explains the constant battles in northern and eastern Afghanistan. The fighting in the south is easier to understand because that is where the opium and heroin are produces. The problem in the north is that the Pushtun tribes up there are minorities, and are more concerned about angering non-Pushtun neighbors than in cooperating with Pushtun-run drug gangs from the south. As a result in the north more people are providing information on Taliban movements, and more Taliban are getting caught or killed up there. This time the Taliban presence for months had eliminated untrustworthy civilians and make this attack possible. Kunduz Province has always been the key to the northern smuggling route and Kunduz City (the provincial capital) is the key to controlling the province. Trying to seize control of Kunduz City is risky but a bold move nonetheless. Unfortunately the Taliban offensive came at the same time that a newly elected president came to power and proceeded to keep his campaign promises to dismiss corrupt and ineffective officials. That included a lot of senior people in the defense ministry and northerners blame the sloppy army performance in Kunduz on this housecleaning in the senior ranks of the army. Fortunately the non-Pushtun tribes that dominate the north have militias that were willing to defend Kunduz, as they had back in the late 1990s. Unfortunately pro-government militias are easier to bribe.

 

Taking Kunduz is a big deal for the Taliban and a defeat up there hurts Taliban morale and income. This will make some of the true-believer Taliban consider switching to ISIL as it is clear to most Taliban that the Kunduz operation is mostly about the drugs, not establishing a religious dictatorship in Afghanistan.  Hatred of the drug gangs and the Taliban is most intense in the north, where the non-Pushtun tribes (who are 60 percent of the Afghan population) are very hostile to any Pushtun “invasion”. The battle for Kunduz City is a test of whether drug gang money and hired guns (the Taliban) can overwhelm local hostility. Drug gang bribes have already bought temporary loyalty of many northerners, but can guns and money control the entire province? So far it’s a standoff with Taliban gunmen blocking most roads around the city while the government and local tribes send more reinforcements. ISIL is also active in Kunduz Province and apparently employed by at least one drug gang. So far several hundred thousand civilians have fled the area, fearing that the fighting will escalate before it is over. The danger to the civilians has encouraged the local tribal and warlord militias to go after the Taliban, who are seen as foreign invaders and deserving of no mercy.

 

 

September 24, 2015: Pakistan says that Afghan Taliban are leaving Pakistan after receiving a warning. Afghanistan does not believe this.

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7 octobre 2015 3 07 /10 /octobre /2015 15:30
Air Strikes in Irak - photo UK MoD

Air Strikes in Irak - photo UK MoD

 

7 October 2015 Ministry of Defence

 

On Thursday 1 October, an RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft patrolled ahead of Kurdish peshmerga as they conducted their latest offensive against the ISIL terror network in northern Iraq. The Reaper’s crew identified a team of armed terrorists moving on foot and successfully engaged them with a Hellfire missile. The Reaper then provided support to a coalition air strike on an ISIL facility, where car-bombs were being assembled; our aircraft used its sensors to sweep the surrounding area, ensuring there was no risk to civilians, before the air strike went ahead and destroyed the target.

 

The following day, Tornado GR4s from RAF Akrotiri also provided close air support to the peshmerga, south-west of Kirkuk. ISIL extremists were spotted and were struck by a Paveway IV guided bomb. Meanwhile, further south and west, a Reaper provided surveillance support to a coalition air strike on an ISIL-held building, then used one of its Hellfires to destroy an armoured truck. The Reaper then provided targeting support to another coalition aircraft as it engaged a terrorist heavy machine-gun concealed under trees.

 

Sunday 4 October saw RAF GR4s patrolling over western Iraq, where they destroyed an anti-aircraft gun position with a Paveway IV. A Reaper was also operating over Anbar province, and it supported coalition air attacks on two Da’ish buildings and a heavy machine-gun. On Monday 5 October, a Reaper, again operating over the west of the country, identified a terrorist team as they planted an improvised explosive device, and successfully attacked them with a Hellfire.

 

Whilst the coalition air campaign provides extensive air support to current Iraqi security operations, intensive training continues to build up their strength for future offensives, with British military instructors playing their part alongside training teams from other members of the global coalition. A particular focus for the British instructors has been on teaching techniques to minimise the threat posed by the large numbers of improvised explosive devices and booby-traps with which the terrorists attempt to hold up Iraqi advances. The UK has given the Iraqi forces 1,000 Vallon mine-detectors and these, combined with the training provided, have already helped save many lives.

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23 juin 2015 2 23 /06 /juin /2015 16:30
The Reality Of The Islamic State

 

June 23, 2015: Strategy Page

 

ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) has taken control of three major cities and the results have been unpleasant and expected. In 2014 they took the eastern Syria city of Raqqa (population 500,000) and turned it into an “Islamic city.” Strict lifestyle rules were imposed and local Christians have to pay an extra tax to avoid persecution. Then, in mid-2014 they took Mosul (two million) in Iraq. In May 2015 they took Ramadi (200,000). All three cities already had problems with electricity and water supplies and shaky sewage systems. Many of the inhabitants of these cities fled, although that became more difficult once armed ISIL men were patrolling the streets and controlling the roads in and out of town. In Ramadi more than half the population was gone when ISIL arrived and that was largely because it was now well known what would happen when ISIL took over. In short, nothing good.

 

ISIL enforces the strictest lifestyle rules, based on an interpretation of Islamic scripture that is more hostile to most modern tech than al Qaeda ever was. That means no music, video or anything that can be identified as “Western.” Exceptions are made, grudgingly, when it is necessary to keep ISIL members alive. Thus while Western aid groups are banned, Western medical supplies are allowed in but ISIL members get priority. Even Moslem medical personnel must prove there are Islamic enough to meet ISIL standards. Those who cannot, and that means most of them, are threatened. Some are killed but the rest flee. The few medical personnel who remain can barely care for ISIL leadership and some combat wounds.

 

Getting electricity, water and sanitation networks operating is a priority but crippled by lack of supplies (especially fuel) and spare parts as well as people qualified to repair and operate things. Anywhere else in the Middle East foreign suppliers and experts would be called upon as necessary. That is not Islamic according to ISIL and instead locals with some skills to step forward and try to cope. The result is intermittent water supplies, unreliable sanitation systems and lots of people using portable generators for power or living in the dark.

 

Many of the civilians who stayed behind have managed to adapt and an economy of sorts has been created. In late 2014 ISIL sought to create their own currency (gold coins) but that did not get far. So any currency (local, Western) that works is used. “Taxes” are collected in a medieval fashion that could best be described (in modern terms) as opportunistic extortion. This begins with lots of looting when ISIL takes control of new territory. While much is made of Moslems (especially Western ones) trying to get to get to the Islamic State the reality is that more people already there are trying to get out. In many cases this is a matter of life and death because the collapse of the medical care system has left most people with few useful options if they get sick or injured. ISIL considers such misfortunes “the will of God” and complainers are regarded as heretics.

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10 mars 2015 2 10 /03 /mars /2015 21:30
photo Marine Nationale

photo Marine Nationale


SOUTHWEST ASIA, March 10, 2015 – From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release

 

U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

 

Airstrikes in Syria

Fighter, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted four airstrikes near Kobani, which struck four ISIL tactical units and destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.

 

Airstrikes in Iraq

Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted eight airstrikes in Iraq:

-- Near Fallujah, three airstrikes struck two ISIL large tactical units and destroyed three ISIL vehicles.

-- Near Kirkuk, four airstrikes struck three ISIL large tactical units, an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, four ISIL buildings, three ISIL vehicles, three ISIL vehicle bombs, an ISIL culvert crossing and an ISIL heavy machine gun.

-- Near Mosul, an airstrike suppressed an ISIL vehicle.

 

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

The strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, the region, and the wider international community. The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group's ability to project terror and conduct operations, officials said.

Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq include the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the United States, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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24 février 2015 2 24 /02 /février /2015 17:30
RAF Strike on ISIL 18 February (video)


19 févr. 2015 Royal Air Force

 

Royal Air Force aircraft have again struck at the ISIL terrorists in Iraq, hitting a mobile rocket launcher that had fired on Kurdish troops north of Mosul.

On the afternoon of Wednesday 18 February, two RAF Tornado GR4s from RAF Akrotiri conducted an armed reconnaissance mission over northern Iraq to provide close air support to the Kurdish peshmerga, who have conducted a series of successful offensives to liberate their countrymen from the terrorists. The Kurds reported coming under rocket fire, and after an intensive search the GR4s were able to locate an ISIL truck-mounted rocket launcher, and attacked it, scoring a direct hit with a Brimstone missile. The Kurdish peshmerga are also receiving infantry training from a team of coalition instructors, including British military personnel.

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10 février 2015 2 10 /02 /février /2015 13:30
Air strikes in Iraq (updated 9 February 2015)

 

9 February 2015 Ministry of Defence

 

British forces have continued to conduct air operations to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIL.

 

Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft operating in support of the Iraqi government have conducted further successful attacks on ISIL terrorists.

On the morning of Friday 6 February, an RAF Tornado GR4 patrol worked closely with a coalition surveillance platform to provide overwatch for Kurdish peshmerga, who were engaged in close combat with ISIL – also known as Da’ish – terrorists near Mosul. When an ISIL mortar position opened fire on the pehsmerga, the GR4s were able to respond with a Brimstone missile which scored a direct hit.

Early on Saturday morning, another Tornado pair patrolled western Iraq, near Al Qa’im, close to the Syrian border. Two heavily armed ISIL trucks were identified and attacked with Brimstone missiles. The GR4s also located an ISIL armoured personnel carrier and conducted a further Brimstone attack; initial analysis indicates that all three vehicles were destroyed.

An armed reconnaissance patrol by a Reaper on Monday morning over western Iraq spotted a checkpoint manned by ISIL, denying the local population any freedom of movement. Having checked the area for any risk to civilians, the Reaper’s crew attacked the checkpoint with a Hellfire missile.

 

Previous air strikes

2 February: Early on Monday, Tornado GR4s provided close air support to Iraqi army operations approximately 70 kilometres north west of Baghdad, and dropped 2 Paveway IVs on ISIL positions engaged in a firefight with the Iraqi troops.

4 February: In the afternoon, a pair of RAF Tornado GR4s conducted an armed reconnaissance patrol to assist the Iraqi armed forces in their offensive operations against ISIL around Bayji. Two ISIL armoured vehicles were identified in a building and were attacked with two Paveway IV precision guided bombs, scoring direct hits.

Military support is just one part of the UK Government’s contribution to the global coalition strategy to defeat ISIL – we are also taking action to counter the terrorist network’s finances, are restricting the flow of foreign fighters and have provided vital humanitarian relief to help those affected by ISIL’s brutality. The RAF contribution includes Reaper remotely piloted aircraft, which, like the Tornados, provide reconnaissance and close air support to the Iraqi ground forces; a Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker; a Sentry airborne surveillance and command aircraft; and air transport aircraft as necessary. British military training teams continue to teach infantry and first aid skills to the Kurdish peshmerga, and liaison teams are embedded within Iraqi and coalition headquarters. Having previously provided military equipment to the Iraqi forces, Britain plans to gift Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detectors to help the Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers protect themselves against the numerous improvised explosive devices on which ISIL are increasingly relying as they are forced back by successful offensives. In the Gulf, the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyer HMS Dauntless is operating in direct support of the US Navy’s aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, which provides a significant part of the coalition’s air effort.

Details of previous airstrikes can be found here.

For more information see ISIL: UK government response page on GOV.UK

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5 février 2015 4 05 /02 /février /2015 17:30
Air strikes in Iraq (updated 5 February 2015)

 

5 February 2015 Ministry of Defence

 

British forces have continued to conduct air operations to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIL.

 

British forces have again struck at ISIL, as part of the international coalition’s efforts to support the Iraqi government in its fight against the terrorist organisation.

On the afternoon of Wednesday 4 February, a pair of Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado GR4s conducted an armed reconnaissance patrol to assist the Iraqi armed forces in their offensive operations against ISIL around Bayji. Two ISIL armoured vehicles were identified in a building and were attacked with two Paveway IV precision guided bombs, scoring direct hits.

Military support is just one part of the UK Government’s contribution to the global coalition strategy to defeat ISIL – we are also taking action to counter the terrorist network’s finances, are restricting the flow of foreign fighters and have provided vital humanitarian relief to help those affected by ISIL’s brutality. The RAF contribution includes Reaper remotely piloted aircraft, which, like the Tornados, provide reconnaissance and close air support to the Iraqi ground forces; a Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker; a Sentry airborne surveillance and command aircraft; and air transport aircraft as necessary. British military training teams continue to teach infantry and first aid skills to the Kurdish peshmerga, and liaison teams are embedded within Iraqi and coalition headquarters. Having previously provided military equipment to the Iraqi forces, Britain plans to gift Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detectors to help the Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers protect themselves against the numerous improvised explosive devices on which ISIL are increasingly relying as they are forced back by successful offensives. In the Gulf, the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyer HMS Dauntless is operating in direct support of the US Navy’s aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, which provides a significant part of the coalition’s air effort.

 

Previous air strikes

2 February: Early on Monday, Tornado GR4s provided close air support to Iraqi army operations approximately 70 kilometres north west of Baghdad, and dropped 2 Paveway IVs on ISIL positions engaged in a firefight with the Iraqi troops.

 

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 08:35
AQIS source dhakatribune

AQIS source dhakatribune

 

January 31, 2015: Strategy Page

 

In December 2014 India banned ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) within its borders. Pakistan has not officially banned ISIL but has made it clear that the government is very hostile to ISIL and any of the growing number of local Islamic terrorist organizations that have declared their allegiance to ISIL. Many factions of Pakistani Taliban have pledged allegiance to ISIL. In mid-2014, at the same time ISIL was beginning to show up in South Asia (India, Pakistan, and so on) al Qaeda announced the formation of AQIS (Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent). This has not amounted to much.

 

What the South Asian governments and established Islamic terrorist groups are afraid of is the clever recruiting tactics ISIL has developed. ISIL plays on the appeal of Islamic radicals and their legendary (but never fulfilled) goal of establishing a religious dictatorship that eliminates all the corruption and injustice that cripples most Moslem communities. This sort of idealism is especially popular with young (teenage and 20s) Moslem (and some non-Moslem) men and even a few women. In response many Western nations with Moslem minorities have also banned ISIL. For the rational it just seems like the right thing to do.

 

These bans make it more difficult for ISIL to recruit and raise money, but not impossible. For a Moslem nation it also demonstrates a determination to defeat Islamic terrorism. That’s why the failure of Pakistan and some other Islamic nations to ban ISIL. For many Moslems Islamic terrorism is bad only if it is a personal threat.

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 08:30
source ISW

source ISW

 

February 2, 2015: Strategy Page

 

ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) was seemingly invincible and unstoppable in mid-2014. In July 2014 ISIL had recently taken control of Mosul (the largest city in northern Iraq) and was advancing on Baghdad, the Kurdish north and the capital of western Iraq (Anbar province).  Similar gains were being made in Syria. All that has changed in the last few months. ISIL still holds the cities of Raqqa (the largest city in eastern Syria) and Mosul in Iraq. But both cities are increasingly rebellious and require a growing number of ISIL gunmen to maintain control.  Now ISIL is in retreat in Iraq and Syria. Sunni tribes in Anbar and western Syria are in open revolt and subject to increasingly savage reprisals by ISIL gunmen (often foreigners, which makes the tribesmen angrier). Half the ISIL leadership has been killed by coalition (Arab, NATO and allied) warplanes since August 2014. This air support and a Iraqi soldiers, Kurdish troops, Shia militias and armed Sunni tribesmen have taken back much of the territory ISIL overran in early 2014. American and other Western troops are rebuilding the Iraqi Army and arming anti-ISIL Sunni tribesmen. Iran is training and sometimes leading Shia militias. In Syria ISIL is getting beaten by Kurds, Syrian soldiers and more Iranian trained Shia militias.

 

While still bringing in new recruits from outside of Syria and Iraq, ISIL has lost the propaganda war inside those two counties and the Islamic world in general. History often repeats itself and in the case of Iraqi Islamic terrorists there is, for the second time since 2007, a major dip in Islamic terrorist approval ratings because of the brutality of Iraqi Islamic terrorists. Back in 2007 it was the "Al Qaeda In Iraq" leadership that was out of control. At the time opinion polls in Moslem countries showed approval and support of al Qaeda plunging, in some cases to single digits. This came after the 2003 invasion of Iraq when al Qaeda managed to take itself from hero to zero in less than four years. Al Qaeda has since recovered somewhat but that kinder and gentler approach did not last and by 2013 the Iraqi al Qaeda (now ISIL) was again losing popular support. That was quite visible after June 2014 when ISIL seized control of parts of Iraq and promptly slaughtered captured Iraqi soldiers and police, mainly because these men were Shia. Then ISIL declared the parts of Syria and Iraq it controlled were the new Moslem caliphate.

 

Naturally the ISIL leaders running this new caliphate called on all Moslems to follow them in making the new caliphate work. Most Moslems responded, according to subsequent opinion polls, by expressing greater fear rather than more admiration for Islamic terrorist groups, especially ISIL. This was not a radical change in attitude. Earlier in 2014 al Qaeda leadership condemned ISIL for being completely out of control and not to be trusted or supported. Throughout 2104 opinion polls showed Moslems becoming more hostile to Islamic terrorists, seeing them as a cause for concern not as defenders of Islam. The same thing happened back in 2007. Then as now there continued to be young (teens and twenties) Moslem men who saw all this mindless mayhem as an attraction and kept rushing to join the slaughter (most often of themselves). The Islamic world has not been able to control these violent young men or the older men who encourage and organize this violence.

 

When al Qaeda could not, in 2007, exercise any real control over the parts (mostly Anbar province in the West) of Iraq they claimed as part of the new Islamic State and that claim was the last straw for many Moslems. The original caliphate came apart because the Islamic world was split by ethnic and national differences and the first caliphate fell apart after a few centuries.  Various rulers have claimed the title over the centuries, but since 1924, when the Turks gave it up (after four centuries), no one of any stature has stepped up and assumed the role. So when al Qaeda "elected" a nobody in 2006 as the emir of the "Islamic State of Iraq", and talked about this being the foundation of the new caliphate, even many pro-al Qaeda Moslems were aghast. The key allies of the Iraqi Islamic terrorists (the Sunni minority of Iraq), battered by increasingly effective American and Iraqi (Shia and Kurd) attacks, dropped their support for al Qaeda and the terrorist organization got stomped to bits by the "surge offensive" a year later. The final insult was delivered by the former Iraqi Sunni Arab allies, who switched sides and sometimes even worked with the Americans (more so than the Shia dominated Iraqi security forces) to hunt down and kill al Qaeda personnel.

 

Between then and 2013 al Qaeda in Iraq slowly rebuilt and received a major boost in 2011 when the Sunni Arab majority in neighboring Syria rose up against four decades of Shia dictatorship. While the Sunni Arabs are a minority in Iraq (20 percent of the population versus 60 percent Shia) it is quite the opposite in Syria (15 percent Shia and 75 percent Sunni). The Sunnis are most numerous in eastern Syria and western Iraq which the Sunnis see as one entity divided by artificial political boundaries imposed by Turks and the Western nations that replaced the Turks after 1918. This “Sunnistan” is the northernmost concentration of Sunni Arabs and long subjugated by non-Sunni or non-Arab powers. Turks and Persians (the Indo-European Iranians) have long fought over the area, with the Turks largely in charge since the 16th century. The Turks were Sunni and what is now called Iraq has long been, not surprisingly, a center of the long religious battle between Sunni and Shia sects of Islam.

 

Ever since al Qaeda showed up in the 1990s they were popular to Moslems in proportion to how far away the al Qaeda violence was. Once al Qaeda began killing people nearby Moslems tended to change their mind and actively dislike Islamic terrorists. Thus in 2013 37 percent of Turks were concerned about Islamic terrorism while by 2014it was 50 percent thanks to increased ISIL violence on the Syrian border and some inside Turkey itself. Similar situation further south where 54 percent of the people in Jordan were concerned in 2013 versus 62 percent now. In Lebanon, where the Syrian violence spilled over quickly after 2011 last year 81 percent were concerned in 2013 Islamic terrorism versus over 90 percent today.

 

The hostility towards al Qaeda in the region has tainted all forms of Islamic radicalism, including the Shia ones (especially Hezbollah in Lebanon). Yet once Islamic terrorism disappears again (as it does regularly) many Moslems will get nostalgic for those legendary warriors seeking to defend Islam. This is a cycle many Moslems would like to break, but so far the cycle of violence persists.

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2 février 2015 1 02 /02 /février /2015 18:30
Military Airstrikes Hit ISIL in Syria and Iraq

 

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Feb. 2, 2015 – From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release

 

U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria, using bomber, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct 10 airstrikes, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Separately, U.S. and coalition military forces conducted 17 airstrikes against ISIL terrorists in Iraq, using attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft, officials reported.

Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

 

Airstrikes in Syria

-- Near Kobani, nine airstrikes struck three large ISIL tactical units, five ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL staging areas and an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Dayr as Zawr, an airstrike struck an ISIL checkpoint.

 

Airstrikes in Iraq

-- Near Al Asad, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL mortar position and one ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Huwayjah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Al Rutbah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Kirkuk, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL tactical vehicle, one ISIL bunker, and three ISIL earth movers.

-- Near Bayji, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Sinjar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building.

-- Near Tal Afar, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL weapons storage facility.

-- Near Fallujah, four airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, one ISIL vehicle and destroyed eight ISIL vehicles.

-- Near Haditha, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL fighting position and one ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Mosul, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL vehicle.

All aircraft returned to base safely.

 

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

The strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, the region, and the wider international community. The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group's ability to project terror and conduct operations.

Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq include the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the U.S., Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

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30 janvier 2015 5 30 /01 /janvier /2015 12:30
Update: air strikes in Iraq (UK MoD)

 

29 January 2015 Ministry of Defence

 

British forces have continued to conduct air operations to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIL.

 

Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft continue to take action against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorists in Iraq.

As part of the international coalition’s efforts to support the Iraqi government in its fight against ISlL, RAF Tornado GR4s last night conducted an armed reconnaissance patrol over north-west Iraq, where the Kurdish peshmerga continue to press ISIL hard with a series of successful offensives.

Near Baa’j, the Tornados investigated a reported ISIL checkpoint, which was being used to prevent the local civilian population from being able to move freely.

The checkpoint, which included a guard room and an equipment storage area, was destroyed with Paveway IV precision guided bombs.

Nearby, the GR4 patrol also located an ISIL armoured personnel carrier, and successfully attacked it with a Brimstone missile.

The Tornados, based at RAF Akrotiri, were as usual supported by a Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker, and continue to operate alongside Reaper remotely piloted aircraft.

The RAF contribution to the coalition air campaign has also now been strengthened by a Sentry surveillance and command aircraft, while a British military training team continues to work in northern Iraq, teaching infantry and first aid skills to the peshmerga volunteers.

 

Previous air strikes

 

25 January: a Reaper was once again on patrol over northern Iraq on Sunday, providing top cover to the peshmerga as they consolidated their latest successful offensive against ISIL. One Hellfire was used to attack an armoured personnel carrier, then a further 2 missiles were used against 2 ISIL positions near by.

23 January: another Reaper flew on Friday morning to support the Iraqi army in the west of the country and observed ISIL fighters loading rockets into a truck. The vehicle was kept under close observation and then was successfully attacked with a Hellfire. A further attack was then conducted as the terrorists attempted to salvage equipment from the damaged truck.

22 January: an RAF Reaper, patrolling over northern Iraq, assisted Kurdish peshmerga who were under fire from a group of terrorists with a heavily armed pick-up truck. The vehicle was destroyed by a Hellfire missile.

21 January: early on Wednesday, a pair of Tornado GR4s flew in support of Kurdish troops, a Brimstone missile struck a heavily-armed ISIL truck and a Paveway IV guided bomb was used to target a terrorist observation post. Initial reports indicate both attacks were a success. On Wednesday evening, a Reaper provided further surveillance for the peshmerga, and in a series of engagements used Hellfires to attack a number terrorist vehicles and a fighting position.

20 January: RAF aircraft have been on hand to assist the latest Kurdish offensive operation; a Reaper was able to conduct a successful precision attack with a Hellfire missile on a terrorist group.

19 January: RAF Tornado GR4s were active in the early hours of Monday morning, flying armed reconnaissance in western Iraq, close to the Syrian border. An armoured personnel carrier was identified near Al Qaim and hit by a Brimstone missile. Continuing their patrol to the north east, the GR4s caught another group of ISIL vehicles attacked with a Paveway IV bomb. Meanwhile, British Army advisers continue to provide training and mentoring to the Iraqi security forces, particularly the Kurdish peshmerga in northern Iraq.

18 January: Reapers continued to provide support to the Iraqi army on Sunday – in the afternoon a Hellfire was used to strike a heavy machine-gun position that threatened Iraqi soldiers nearby, then during the night a further 3 missiles were used to target a large terrorist group as they began an attack on an Iraqi position.

16 January: Friday saw another Tornado patrol supporting the Iraqi army in its operations near Bayji. Three positions were identified and were struck simultaneously with Paveways. A fourth Paveway was used shortly afterwards against a further ISIL position near by. That evening, an RAF Reaper, operating elsewhere in Iraq, identified another group of terrorists who had just attacked an Iraqi unit and conducted 2 successful attacks with Hellfire missiles.

13 January: a pair of Tornado GR4s flew a reconnaissance mission ahead of Kurdish forces as they continued to strengthen security in the area east of Mount Sinjar, from which ISIL – or Da’ish as they are known to the Iraqi and Syrian people they abuse – was driven out in December. The aircraft spotted the terrorists constructing a fortified position; a Paveway IV precision guided bomb successfully destroyed the vehicle they were using.

9 January: late at night, 2 RAF Tornado GR4s, on an armed reconnaissance mission in northern Iraq, were summoned to assist the Kurdish peshmerga. Da’ish terrorists, who have lost a significant amount of territory to the peshmerga recently, were attempting to mount a local attack on a Kurdish unit. The GR4s delivered 4 precision strikes using Paveway IV guided bombs to disrupt the attack.

8 January: in the evening a Reaper remotely piloted air system (RPAS) worked in close conjunction with other coalition aircraft to provide air support to Iraqi troops in Anbar province, western Iraq. The RAF Reaper provided targeting assistance to the fast jets in strikes against ISIL positions, and conducted a successful attack using its own Hellfire missiles.

6 January: At the request of the Iraqi government, British forces took further action against ISIL terrorist targets.

5 January: Reaper and Tornado missions were also flown in the morning. Tornados again patrolled the Al Qaim area, where they destroyed an ISIL excavator vehicle, used to construct fortified positions, with a Brimstone, while a Reaper, scouting ahead of Iraqi troops, spotted an armoured vehicle being moved by ISIL on a heavy equipment transporter. A Hellfire missile scored a direct hit on the armoured vehicle, another Hellfire destroyed the transporter itself, and a third missile struck an ISIL position nearby.

4 January: an RAF Reaper, working in support of Iraqi army units, identified an ISIL vehicle and engaged it with a Hellfire missile. Shortly afterwards, the Reaper discovered an ISIL position close by, and attacked this with another Hellfire.

2 January: in the early hours a RAF Tornado GR4 armed reconnaissance patrol located an ISIL armoured personnel carrier to the east of Al Qaim, and conducted a successful strike with a Brimstone missile. Later in the day, a coalition surveillance aircraft observed ISIL positions concealed within woods north-west of Ramadi and another Tornado mounted an attack with 2 Paveway IV precision guided bombs.

Details of previous airstrikes can be found here.

For more information see ISIL: UK government response page on GOV.UK

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16 janvier 2015 5 16 /01 /janvier /2015 17:30
Can ISIL be copied?

 

16 January 2015 Florence Gaub Brief - No1 -  EUISS

 

While al-Qaeda made a frightening return with its attack in Paris last week, 2014 was very much marked by a different, yet equally menacing form of terror: the rapid ascent of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant organisation, known as ISIL or ISIS (Daech in Arabic). Now running a proto-state, ISIL has been elevated from a mere terrorist group to something far more ambitious. Whereas al-Qaeda and its outlets conduct terrorist attacks as trained commandos with pre-identified, high-profile targets, ISIL encourages suicide bombings and ‘lone wolf’ actions, as also the two Paris attacks (however coordinated) showed.

Yet ISIL’s aspirations to forge a state based on extremist interpretations of Islam run even higher. A key question therefore is not only whether ISIL can be contained but can other groups replicate its achievements?

 

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8 janvier 2015 4 08 /01 /janvier /2015 17:30
U.S., Partner Nations Continue Airstrikes Against ISIL

 

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Jan. 8, 2015 – From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release

 

U.S. and partner-nation military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials provided details on the following strikes, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports:

 

Airstrikes in Syria

Fighter and bomber aircraft conducted six airstrikes in Syria:

-- Near Kobani, five airstrikes struck two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL staging area and destroyed four ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Hasakah, an airstrike struck four ISIL crude oil pumps and five ISIL crude oil well heads.

 

Airstrikes in Iraq

Bomber and fighter aircraft conducted seven airstrikes in Iraq:

-- Near Rutbah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Tal Afar, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb and an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Kirkuk, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL checkpoint.

-- Near Fallujah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Asad, an airstrike struck a large ISIL unit.

-- Near Sinjar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

 

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

The strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community.

Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq include the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the United States, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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8 janvier 2015 4 08 /01 /janvier /2015 08:30
Air strikes in Iraq (updated 6 Jan. 15)

 

6 January 2015  Ministry of Defence

 

At the request of the Iraqi government, British forces have taken further action against ISIL terrorist targets.

 

In the early hours of 2 January, a Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 armed reconnaissance patrol located an ISIL armoured personnel carrier to the east of Al Qaim, and conducted a successful strike with a Brimstone missile. Later that day, a coalition surveillance aircraft observed ISIL positions concealed within woods north-west of Ramadi and another Tornado mounted an attack with two Paveway IV precision guided bombs.

On 4 January, an RAF Reaper, working in support of Iraqi army units, identified an ISIL vehicle and engaged it with a Hellfire missile. Shortly afterwards, the Reaper discovered an ISIL position close by, and attacked this with another Hellfire.

Reaper and Tornado missions were also flown on the morning of 5 January. Tornados again patrolled the Al Qaim area, where they destroyed an ISIL excavator vehicle, used to construct fortified positions, with a Brimstone, while a Reaper, scouting ahead of Iraqi troops, spotted an armoured vehicle being moved by ISIL on a heavy equipment transporter. A Hellfire missile scored a direct hit on the armoured vehicle, another Hellfire destroyed the transporter itself, and a third missile struck an ISIL position nearby.

On 23 December, Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s, operating out of RAF Akrotiri, conducted an armed reconnaissance mission near Al Qaim, close to the border between Syria and Iraq. 4 ISIL armed pick-up trucks were identified, widely dispersed, near a quarry. They were successfully engaged using a combination of Brimstone missiles and Paveway IV guided bombs. Wednesday saw both Tornados and Reaper aircraft providing support to the Kurdish peshmerga, as they consolidated their recent victories over ISIL. A Tornado patrol identified an ISIL armed vehicle at a large former Iraqi military compound, and attacked it with a Brimstone missile. Meanwhile, a Reaper provided overwatch to a US air strike that destroyed a truck which had been converted into a large suicide bomb vehicle, then fired a Hellfire missile at a pick-up truck being used by ISIL to build a road-block of burning tyres.

On Christmas Day, a Tornado patrol returned to the Al Qaim area, tasked with investigating a checkpoint used by ISIL to stop the local civilian population from moving around freely. 2 Brimstone missiles were used to attack a fortified position and a shipping container which had been converted into a guard room. A second pair of GR4s operated further east, and located two armed ISIL vehicles concealed amidst trees on farmland close to the Euphrates, south of the Hadithah Dam. Both vehicles were struck with Brimstones. On 28 December, an RAF Reaper again provided support to the Kurdish peshmerga in the north of the country. Having conducted overwatch for a coalition air strike on 3 ISIL buildings known to have been fortified as heavy machine-gun positions, the Reaper then mounted 2 strikes of its own using Hellfire missiles against enemy fighting positions.

These air operations have been supported throughout by an RAF Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker, whilst a British Army training team has continued its work, alongside coalition partners, to provide infantry training to the peshmerga volunteers.

23 December: The ISIL terrorist organisation has suffered further losses in Iraq thanks to Royal Air Force air strikes delivered at the request of the Iraqi Government. In Anbar province, where the Iraqi army is conducting a number of offensive operations, RAF Tornados GR4s on an armed reconnaissance mission were tasked to investigate a group of vehicles near Ar Rutbah in the early hours of Saturday morning. Four ISIL armoured personnel carriers were identified and successfully attacked with Brimstone missiles.

19 December: Remotely piloted Reapers flew armed reconnaissance missions over Iraq in support of both the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish peshmerga. One Reaper patrol was tasked to locate a group of ISIL terrorists who had fired on advancing Iraqi troops. The Reaper spotted the terrorists planting a number of improvised explosive devices and successfully attacked with a Hellfire missile. In northern Iraq, the Kurdish peshmerga, trained and equipped by a British Army training team, have had notable success in a major offensive across a wide swathe of territory. They are reported to have broken ISIL’s long-running siege of Yazidi minorities on Mount Sinjar.

18 December: In recent weeks, Iraqi ground forces have made a number of successful advances against ISIL. The Kurdish peshmerga, trained, equipped and supported from the air by the international coalition, has liberated several key towns, including Rabiyah on the Syrian border, and Zumar. On Friday, 2 RAF Tornados used Paveway IV precision guided bombs to attack a fortified ISIL compound. The early hours of Wednesday morning saw UK Tornados join other coalition aircraft as the peshmerga mounted a further offensive. The same Tornado patrol then flew 150 miles south to provide support for an additional offensive against ISIL in Anbar province. sts to deny local people any freedom of movement along a major road.

12 December: RAF aircraft operating in support of Iraqi ground forces have seen further action against the ISIL terrorist network. A RAF Reaper conducted armed reconnaissance in northern Iraq, where ISIL are facing increasing pressure from the Kurdish peshmerga. The Reaper’s mission focused on engineering equipment being used by the terrorists to construct defensive positions to hold up peshmerga advances. The remotely piloted aircraft was able to locate 2 of these engineer vehicles, and attacked them with Hellfire missiles. Further south, another Reaper identified an ISIL armed pick-up truck and engaged it with a Hellfire missile. RAF Tornado GR4s were also providing surveillance for the Iraqi army in Anbar province, and were able to assist Iraqi soldiers engaged in a firefight with terrorists near Ramadi. Paveway precision guided bombs and Brimstone missiles were used to deal with ISIL fighting positions and 3 vehicles, including 2 armoured personnel carriers.

10 December: Iraqi troops fighting the ISIL terrorist organisation have received further air support from the international coalition, including the RAF. Early on Wednesday RAF Tornado GR4s attacked an ISIL storage compound near Rawah in Anbar province with a Paveway IV precision guided bomb. In northern Iraq, a British Army team, working with other coalition partners, continues to provide infantry training to the Kurdish peshmerga, who have already succeeded in liberating a number of areas from ISIL’s control, including the towns of Rabiyah and Zumar.

9 December: Military support to the Iraqi government in their fight against ISIL continues, with RAF aircraft conducting further strikes overnight. In the north-west of the country, a patrol of RAF Tornado GR4s was tasked by coalition air controllers to investigate an ISIL site near Mount Sinjar. The aircraft identified an observation tower and guard room in use by the terrorists at a checkpoint controlling a road junction. These were being used to deny the local population any freedom of movement and both were attacked with Brimstone missiles. Elsewhere in Iraq, a RAF Reaper providing surveillance for Iraqi ground forces observed a hostile armoured personnel carrier and successfully attacked it with a Hellfire missile.

8 December: RAF Tornado GR4s have struck further ISIL targets over the weekend while flying in support of Iraqi ground forces. On Friday, an armed reconnaissance patrol of GR4s investigated a reported ISIL position near Rawa in western Iraq. An observation tower and nearby equipment were located and attacked with Paveway IV guided bombs. In the early hours of Saturday morning, a further GR4 patrol in the same area also successfully attacked an ISIL armoured personnel carrier using a Brimstone missile. On Sunday, 2 Tornados were on reconnaissance when Iraqi troops reported coming under fire from terrorists in the vicinity of Bayji. The RAF aircraft responded rapidly, and when they arrived on the scene were able to spot the ISIL position. Since the target was in a built-up area, a very careful assessment was made in cooperation with another coalition surveillance aircraft, and the aircrew used the small and extremely precise Brimstone missile to carry out a successful attack which struck the enemy position. Early this morning, a fourth Tornado patrol operating in north-western Iraq, around Mount Sinjar, located 2 ISIL armoured personnel carriers and hit them with Brimstone missiles.

3 December: RAF aircraft struck a large concentration of ISIL vehicles last night as the UK continued its work as part of an international coalition in the fight against terrorism. Two RAF Tornado GR4s were tasked to investigate reported ISIL activity near Fallujah. A group of ISIL vehicles, including armed pick-up trucks and lorries, was identified and, having confirmed that there were no civilians or friendly forces in close proximity, the jets dropped a cluster of Paveway IV precision guided bombs on the vehicle group. A single truck appeared to survive the initial strike, but was accounted for by a Brimstone missile. A Reaper remotely piloted aircraft also saw action over Iraq, attacking an ISIL vehicle with a Hellfire missile. Combined with the targeted military action in northern Iraq, a British Army training team continues to provide infantry training to Kurdish peshmerga.

1 December: A Tornado GR4 patrol investigated a reported ISIL compound near Tal Afar in north-western Iraq and found a group of armoured personnel carriers. These were successfully attacked using Brimstone missiles. A further pair of Tornado GR4s came to the support of Iraqi forces engaged in a major firefight with ISIL near Tikrit. Two terrorist positions were identified and the precision of the Brimstone missile system allowed both targets to be engaged without risk to friendly forces. Meanwhile, an RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft on a separate patrol was able to attack 3 ISIL positions with Hellfire missiles. Another Reaper conducted a reconnaissance patrol in northern Iraq. Two ISIL positions and a vehicle were located by the Reaper’s crew, allowing coalition fast jets to conduct strikes on each in turn. The Reaper then identified a further ISIL position and engaged it with 1 of its own Hellfire missiles.

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18 décembre 2014 4 18 /12 /décembre /2014 12:30
Air strikes in Iraq

 

18 December 2014 Ministry of Defence

 

British forces have continued to conduct air operations to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIL.

 

Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado GR4s have again struck ISIL terrorists in Iraq over the last few days. In recent weeks, Iraqi ground forces have made a number of successful advances against ISIL. The Kurdish peshmerga, trained, equipped and supported from the air by the international coalition, has liberated several key towns, including Rabiyah on the Syrian border, and Zumar.

On Friday, 2 RAF Tornados used Paveway IV precision guided bombs to attack a fortified ISIL compound.

The early hours of Wednesday morning saw UK Tornados join other coalition aircraft as the peshmerga mounted a further offensive.

They conducted a carefully coordinated attack, again using Paveway IV bombs, on a line of trenches, bunkers and gun emplacements constructed by ISIL between Mosul and Tal Afar in an attempt to hold up the Kurdish advance.

The same Tornado patrol then flew 150 miles south to provide support for an additional offensive against ISIL in Anbar province.

They were tasked to destroy a checkpoint near Rawah, used by the terrorists to deny local people any freedom of movement along a major road.

An attack was conducted with a Brimstone missile on a guard room and equipment store used by those manning the checkpoint.

 

12 December: RAF aircraft operating in support of Iraqi ground forces have seen further action against the ISIL terrorist network. A RAF Reaper conducted armed reconnaissance in northern Iraq, where ISIL are facing increasing pressure from the Kurdish peshmerga. The Reaper’s mission focused on engineering equipment being used by the terrorists to construct defensive positions to hold up peshmerga advances. The remotely piloted aircraft was able to locate 2 of these engineer vehicles, and attacked them with Hellfire missiles. Further south, another Reaper identified an ISIL armed pick-up truck and engaged it with a Hellfire missile. RAF Tornado GR4s were also providing surveillance for the Iraqi army in Anbar province, and were able to assist Iraqi soldiers engaged in a firefight with terrorists near Ramadi. Paveway precision guided bombs and Brimstone missiles were used to deal with ISIL fighting positions and 3 vehicles, including 2 armoured personnel carriers.

10 December: Iraqi troops fighting the ISIL terrorist organisation have received further air support from the international coalition, including the RAF. Early on Wednesday RAF Tornado GR4s attacked an ISIL storage compound near Rawah in Anbar province with a Paveway IV precision guided bomb. In northern Iraq, a British Army team, working with other coalition partners, continues to provide infantry training to the Kurdish peshmerga, who have already succeeded in liberating a number of areas from ISIL’s control, including the towns of Rabiyah and Zumar.

9 December: Military support to the Iraqi government in their fight against ISIL continues, with RAF aircraft conducting further strikes overnight. In the north-west of the country, a patrol of RAF Tornado GR4s was tasked by coalition air controllers to investigate an ISIL site near Mount Sinjar. The aircraft identified an observation tower and guard room in use by the terrorists at a checkpoint controlling a road junction. These were being used to deny the local population any freedom of movement and both were attacked with Brimstone missiles. Elsewhere in Iraq, a RAF Reaper providing surveillance for Iraqi ground forces observed a hostile armoured personnel carrier and successfully attacked it with a Hellfire missile.

8 December: RAF Tornado GR4s have struck further ISIL targets over the weekend while flying in support of Iraqi ground forces. On Friday, an armed reconnaissance patrol of GR4s investigated a reported ISIL position near Rawa in western Iraq. An observation tower and nearby equipment were located and attacked with Paveway IV guided bombs. In the early hours of Saturday morning, a further GR4 patrol in the same area also successfully attacked an ISIL armoured personnel carrier using a Brimstone missile. On Sunday, 2 Tornados were on reconnaissance when Iraqi troops reported coming under fire from terrorists in the vicinity of Bayji. The RAF aircraft responded rapidly, and when they arrived on the scene were able to spot the ISIL position. Since the target was in a built-up area, a very careful assessment was made in cooperation with another coalition surveillance aircraft, and the aircrew used the small and extremely precise Brimstone missile to carry out a successful attack which struck the enemy position. Early this morning, a fourth Tornado patrol operating in north-western Iraq, around Mount Sinjar, located 2 ISIL armoured personnel carriers and hit them with Brimstone missiles.

3 December: RAF aircraft struck a large concentration of ISIL vehicles last night as the UK continued its work as part of an international coalition in the fight against terrorism. Two RAF Tornado GR4s were tasked to investigate reported ISIL activity near Fallujah. A group of ISIL vehicles, including armed pick-up trucks and lorries, was identified and, having confirmed that there were no civilians or friendly forces in close proximity, the jets dropped a cluster of Paveway IV precision guided bombs on the vehicle group. A single truck appeared to survive the initial strike, but was accounted for by a Brimstone missile. A Reaper remotely piloted aircraft also saw action over Iraq, attacking an ISIL vehicle with a Hellfire missile. Combined with the targeted military action in northern Iraq, a British Army training team continues to provide infantry training to Kurdish peshmerga.

1 December: A Tornado GR4 patrol investigated a reported ISIL compound near Tal Afar in north-western Iraq and found a group of armoured personnel carriers. These were successfully attacked using Brimstone missiles. A further pair of Tornado GR4s came to the support of Iraqi forces engaged in a major firefight with ISIL near Tikrit. Two terrorist positions were identified and the precision of the Brimstone missile system allowed both targets to be engaged without risk to friendly forces. Meanwhile, an RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft on a separate patrol was able to attack 3 ISIL positions with Hellfire missiles. Another Reaper conducted a reconnaissance patrol in northern Iraq. Two ISIL positions and a vehicle were located by the Reaper’s crew, allowing coalition fast jets to conduct strikes on each in turn. The Reaper then identified a further ISIL position and engaged it with 1 of its own Hellfire missiles.

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17 décembre 2014 3 17 /12 /décembre /2014 22:30
Military Airstrikes Hit ISIL in Syria and Iraq

 

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 17, 2014 – From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release

 

U.S. and partner-nation military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported.

 

Officials provided details of airstrikes conducted Dec. 15 through today.

 

Airstrikes in Syria

In Syria, five airstrikes near Kobani destroyed an ISIL building, an ISIL staging area, an ISIL bunker, and an ISIL mortar and struck two ISIL tactical units, two additional buildings and two ISIL fighting positions. Near Abu Kamal, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle.

 

Airstrikes in Iraq

Separately, U.S. and partner-nation military forces conducted 61 airstrikes in Iraq using fighter, bomber, attack, and remotely-piloted aircraft:

-- Eight airstrikes near Mosul destroyed two ISIL heavy machine guns, three ISIL buildings, one ISIL mortar position, one ISIL bulldozer and an ISIL bunker and also struck a large ISIL unit and an ISIL tactical unit;

-- Two airstrikes near Tal-Afar destroyed an ISIL building and three ISIL bridges and also struck an ISIL tactical unit;

-- Two airstrikes near Sinjar destroyed two ISIL vehicles, two ISIL guard towers, three ISIL containers and one ISIL storage container;

-- An airstrike near Hit destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle and an excavator;

-- An airstrike near Rawa destroyed an ISIL building and a storage container;

-- An airstrike near Irbil destroyed an ISIL vehicle and struck an ISIL tactical unit;

-- An airstrike near Ramadi destroyed an ISIL building; and

-- An additional 45 strikes were conducted in support of the Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces operating in the region. Precision airstrikes from 15 coalition aircraft destroyed approximately 50 targets, to include bulldozers, vehicles, checkpoints, enemy fighting positions, enemy fighters, and equipment.

 

All aircraft returned to base safely. Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports.

 

The strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community. The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group's ability to project terror and conduct operations.

 

Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq include the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Coalition Nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the U.S., Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

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10 décembre 2014 3 10 /12 /décembre /2014 14:30
USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) launches aircraft in support of strikes on ISIL

 

10 déc. 2014 US Navy

 

ARABIAN GULF (Dec. 10, 2014) Flight deck personnel launch F/A-18F Super Hornets from the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Later aircraft are recovered and maintenance is conducted. Carl Vinson is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.

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9 décembre 2014 2 09 /12 /décembre /2014 18:30
Air strikes in Iraq (updated 9 Dec. 2014)

 

9 December 2014 Ministry of Defence

 

British forces have continued to conduct air operations to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIL.

 

Military support to the Iraqi government in their fight against ISIL continues, with Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft conducting further strikes overnight.

In the north-west of the country, a patrol of RAF Tornado GR4s was tasked by coalition air controllers to investigate an ISIL site near Mount Sinjar.

The aircraft identified an observation tower and guard room in use by the terrorists at a checkpoint controlling a road junction.

These were being used to deny the local population any freedom of movement and both were attacked with Brimstone missiles.

Elsewhere in Iraq, a RAF Reaper providing surveillance for Iraqi ground forces observed a hostile armoured personnel carrier and successfully attacked it with a Hellfire missile.

 

8 December: RAF Tornado GR4s have struck further ISIL targets over the weekend while flying in support of Iraqi ground forces. On Friday, an armed reconnaissance patrol of GR4s investigated a reported ISIL position near Rawa in western Iraq. An observation tower and nearby equipment were located and attacked with Paveway IV guided bombs. In the early hours of Saturday morning, a further GR4 patrol in the same area also successfully attacked an ISIL armoured personnel carrier using a Brimstone missile. On Sunday, 2 Tornados were on reconnaissance when Iraqi troops reported coming under fire from terrorists in the vicinity of Bayji. The RAF aircraft responded rapidly, and when they arrived on the scene were able to spot the ISIL position. Since the target was in a built-up area, a very careful assessment was made in cooperation with another coalition surveillance aircraft, and the aircrew used the small and extremely precise Brimstone missile to carry out a successful attack which struck the enemy position. Early this morning, a fourth Tornado patrol operating in north-western Iraq, around Mount Sinjar, located 2 ISIL armoured personnel carriers and hit them with Brimstone missiles.

3 December: RAF aircraft struck a large concentration of ISIL vehicles last night as the UK continued its work as part of an international coalition in the fight against terrorism. Two RAF Tornado GR4s were tasked to investigate reported ISIL activity near Fallujah. A group of ISIL vehicles, including armed pick-up trucks and lorries, was identified and, having confirmed that there were no civilians or friendly forces in close proximity, the jets dropped a cluster of Paveway IV precision guided bombs on the vehicle group. A single truck appeared to survive the initial strike, but was accounted for by a Brimstone missile. A Reaper remotely piloted aircraft also saw action over Iraq, attacking an ISIL vehicle with a Hellfire missile. Combined with the targeted military action in northern Iraq, a British Army training team continues to provide infantry training to Kurdish peshmerga.

1 December: A Tornado GR4 patrol investigated a reported ISIL compound near Tal Afar in north-western Iraq and found a group of armoured personnel carriers. These were successfully attacked using Brimstone missiles. A further pair of Tornado GR4s came to the support of Iraqi forces engaged in a major firefight with ISIL near Tikrit. Two terrorist positions were identified and the precision of the Brimstone missile system allowed both targets to be engaged without risk to friendly forces. Meanwhile, an RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft on a separate patrol was able to attack 3 ISIL positions with Hellfire missiles. Another Reaper conducted a reconnaissance patrol in northern Iraq. Two ISIL positions and a vehicle were located by the Reaper’s crew, allowing coalition fast jets to conduct strikes on each in turn. The Reaper then identified a further ISIL position and engaged it with 1 of its own Hellfire missiles.

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4 décembre 2014 4 04 /12 /décembre /2014 13:30
Air strikes in Iraq - updated: 3 Dec. 2014(UK MoD)

 

3 December 2014 Ministry of Defence

 

British forces have continued to conduct air operations to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIL

 

 

Royal Air Force aircraft struck a large concentration of ISIL vehicles last night as the UK continued its work as part of an international coalition in the fight against terrorism.

Two RAF Tornado GR4s were tasked to investigate reported ISIL activity near Fallujah. A group of ISIL vehicles, including armed pick-up trucks and lorries, was identified and, having confirmed that there were no civilians or friendly forces in close proximity, the jets dropped a cluster of Paveway IV precision guided bombs on the vehicle group. A single truck appeared to survive the initial strike, but was accounted for by a Brimstone missile.

A Reaper remotely piloted aircraft also saw action over Iraq, attacking an ISIL vehicle with a Hellfire missile.

Combined with the targeted military action in northern Iraq, a British Army training team continues to provide infantry training to Kurdish peshmerga.

1 December - A Tornado GR4 patrol investigated a reported ISIL compound near Tal Afar in north-western Iraq and found a group of armoured personnel carriers. These were successfully attacked using Brimstone missiles. A further pair of Tornado GR4s came to the support of Iraqi forces engaged in a major firefight with ISIL near Tikrit. Two terrorist positions were identified and the precision of the Brimstone missile system allowed both targets to be engaged without risk to friendly forces. Meanwhile, an RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft on a separate patrol was able to attack 3 ISIL positions with Hellfire missiles. Another Reaper conducted a reconnaissance patrol in northern Iraq. Two ISIL positions and a vehicle were located by the Reaper’s crew, allowing coalition fast jets to conduct strikes on each in turn. The Reaper then identified a further ISIL position and engaged it with 1 of its own Hellfire missiles.

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30 novembre 2014 7 30 /11 /novembre /2014 08:30
Nov. 28: Military Airstrikes Continue Against ISIL in Syria and Iraq

 

November 28, 2014 U.S. Central Command News Release # 20141119

 

Tampa, Fla. - U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria Nov. 26-28 using bomber and remotely-piloted aircraft to conduct two airstrikes. Separately, U.S. and partner nation military forces conducted thirteen airstrikes in Iraq Nov. 26-28 using fighter, attack, and remotely-piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.

 

In Syria, an airstrike near Kobani struck an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL staging area. Near Aleppo, an airstrike struck a tactical ISIL unit.

 

In Iraq, five airstrikes near Kirkuk destroyed five ISIL bunkers, four ISIL vehicles, a bulldozer and an ISIL fighting position and also struck a large ISIL unit and four tactical ISIL units. Near Mosul, two airstrikes destroyed five ISIL vehicles and a heavy weapon, and also struck two ISIL units. Near Ramadi, an airstrike struck a tactical ISIL unit. Near Ar Rutbah, an airstrike destroyed seven ISIL vehicles. Near Fallujah, an airstrike struck a tactical ISIL unit. Near Al Qaim, two airstrikes destroyed a fighting position and an armored vehicle. An airstrike in Bayji struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL occupied building.

 

All aircraft returned to base safely. Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports.

 

The strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community. The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group's ability to project power and conduct operations. Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq include the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Coalition Nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the U.S., Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

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17 novembre 2014 1 17 /11 /novembre /2014 12:30
RAF Tornado strike against an ISIL vehicle


17 nov. 2014 Defence HQ

 

Tornado GR4s conducted an armed reconnaissance patrol over western and northern Iraq this weekend. In the western desert, they were tasked to strike an ISIL communications vehicle, which Coalition forces had previously identified. A single Brimstone missile was used to conduct an attack.

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17 novembre 2014 1 17 /11 /novembre /2014 08:30
"Jihadi John" has been identified by the FBI

"Jihadi John" has been identified by the FBI

 

16 Nov 2014 By Nicola Harley

 

The Foreign Office has received reports that 'Jihadi John', the man accused of killing two British hostages, has been injured in an airstrike

 

One of the world's most wanted men "Jihadi John" has reportedly been wounded in an airstrike.

Jihadi John”, the man accused of executing British hostages David Haines and Alan Henning and two Americans held by Isil, may have been injured in an airstrike on an Iraqi town close to the Syrian border a week ago.

The Foreign Office said it had received reports the terrorist had been wounded but could not confirm them.

 

Read more

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23 octobre 2014 4 23 /10 /octobre /2014 16:30
A Tornado GR4 at RAF Akrotiri

A Tornado GR4 at RAF Akrotiri

 

20 October 2014 Ministry of Defence

 

British forces have continued to conduct air operations to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIL.

 

Early last week, 2 Tornado GR4s, while on an armed reconnaissance patrol, were tasked to attack an ISIL main battle tank which coalition forces had been tracking near Ramadi.

Following extensive surveillance to ensure that there were no civilians nearby the tank was destroyed in a precision attack using a Brimstone missile.

Yesterday, RAF Tornados were involved in further successful airstrikes on ISIL terrorists who had attacked an Iraqi military convoy south of Fallujah.

Brimstone missiles were used to hit the ISIL forces, including 2 trucks, ahead of additional attacks by other coalition forces in the area which were supported by UK Tornados.

Video footage of the Ramadi mission is available on the Defence Imagery website

8 October 2014 - Tornado GR4 aircraft completed another round of air strikes in Iraq overnight. The Royal Air Force aircraft flew further missions to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIL.

7 October 2014 - two Tornado GR4s were tasked to support the Iraqi Army. Brimstone missiles and Paveway IV guided bombs were used to conduct a successful precision attack on ISIL terrorists who were firing on Iraqi troops from a stronghold near Ramadi.

6 October 2014 - Tornado GR4s, flying from RAF Akrotiri, have continued their patrols over Iraq as part of the international coalition against ISIL.

5 October 2014 - two of our aircraft, flying in support of Iraqi security forces, successfully used Paveway IV precision-guided bombs to attack ISIL terrorists, fortified in a building near Ramadi, who were firing on Iraqi soldiers.

For more information see ISIL: UK government response page on GOV.UK

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23 octobre 2014 4 23 /10 /octobre /2014 16:30
Surveillance missions over Syria confirmed

 

21 October 2014 Ministry of Defence

 

The Defence Secretary has announced that UK Reaper and Rivet Joint aircraft will fly surveillance missions over Syria.

 

UK Reaper remotely piloted aircraft systems and Rivet Joint aircraft will be authorised to fly surveillance missions over Syria.

The deployment will see the Royal Air Force aircraft gathering intelligence as the UK ramps up efforts to protect our national interests from the terrorist threat emanating the country.

Reapers are not authorised to use weapons in Syria and, alongside Rivet Joint, will provide vital situational awareness making it an invaluable asset to the coalition allies who are combating ISIL.

For more information see ISIL: UK government response page on GOV.UK

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10 octobre 2014 5 10 /10 /octobre /2014 06:30
ISIS advances in Kobane as Turkey rejects solo ground action

 

October 10th, 2014 defencetalk.com (AFP)

 

Advancing Islamic State fighters seized a third of the Syrian border town of Kobane Thursday despite US-led air strikes, as Turkey rejected sending troops in against the jihadists on its own.

In fighting that killed dozens, calls grew for ground action to support Kobane’s beleaguered Kurdish defenders.

But after talks with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara could not be expected to act alone.

 “It’s not realistic to expect that Turkey will lead a ground operation on its own,” he said.

Ankara is under pressure over its inaction, and protests in Kurdish areas of Turkey have sparked clashes that claimed at least 23 lives and forced authorities to impose a curfew in six provinces.

Kobane, where Kurdish militia are still holding out after a three-week siege by the jihadists, has become a crucial battleground in the fight against IS.

With the global media gathered just across the border in Turkey, its conquest would be a highly visible symbolic victory for the extremists.

 

Fresh air strikes

The US-led coalition launched a fresh air strike on eastern Kobane on Thursday evening, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Hours earlier, the US military said five strikes were carried out in Kobane Wednesday and Thursday, hitting two IS combat units, destroying a support building and two vehicles, and damaging a training camp.

 “Indications are that Kurdish militia there continue to control most of the city and are holding out against ISIL,” it said, using an alternative acronym for IS.

But a Kobane refugee who spoke to AFP in Turkey said “air strikes are not helpful alone. We need heavy weaponry and tanks to support a ground operation.”

Street battles have been raging since the jihadists breached Kobane’s defences earlier this week.

IS fighters pulled out of some areas Wednesday but have since renewed their offensive and seized more ground, the Britain-based Observatory said.

 “Despite fierce resistance from the Kurdish forces, IS advanced during the night and controls more than a third of Kobane,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

 

Fierce clashes

Eleven IS fighters were killed and four captured in Kobane Thursday, the Observatory said.

Clashes were ongoing in northeastern Kobane, where several official buildings and the Kurdish command are based, and were particularly fierce in the town’s southwest, it added.

Nearly 500 people, mostly combatants, have been killed in and around Kobane and 300,000 have fled the region, two-thirds of them to Turkey, since the assault began in mid-September.

Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, would be a major prize for the jihadists, giving them unbroken control of a long stretch of the border.

The extremists have seized large parts of Iraq and Syria, declaring an Islamic “caliphate” and committing widespread atrocities.

Washington launched an air campaign against IS in Iraq in August, and last month expanded it to Syria with the participation of Arab allies.

After meeting defence chiefs on Wednesday, US President Barack Obama admitted that the fight against IS would not be easy.

 “This is not something that is going to be solved overnight,” he said.

The Pentagon said coalition aircraft were hitting IS at every opportunity but that, without a force on the ground to work with, there were limits to what could be done.

 “We don’t have a willing, capable, effective partner on the ground inside Syria right now. It’s just a fact,” said spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby.

Obama has dispatched retired US general John Allen, and the US pointman on Iraq, Brett McGurk, to Ankara to squeeze commitments from Turkey on what role it can play in the coalition.

The Turkish response has been complicated by concerns over emboldening Kurdish separatists who have waged a deadly insurgency for three decades.

Pro-Kurdish protesters angered by Turkey’s lack of action have clashed with police for three nights running, defying an army-imposed curfew.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets again late Wednesday in cities of Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast and were dispersed with water cannon and tear gas, television said.

Protests and sporadic clashes have also erupted in Europe.

More than 1,000 Kurds returned to the streets in Germany overnight, after unrest in the northern port city of Hamburg injured 23 people the previous night.

Turkey has been calling for a buffer zone to protect its border and provide some protection for fleeing Kurds, but Russia said Thursday any such plan would need the UN Security Council’s approval.

More than 180,000 people have been killed in Syria since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime began in 2011 and evolved into a multi-front civil war that has drawn thousands of jihadists from overseas.

Regime air strikes killed at least eight people Thursday, including two children, in the town of Arabeen, near Damascus, the Observatory said.

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