By Simon Kent.
The US Department of Defence have released data on Coalition air strikes on ISIS in Iraq and Syria, normally indicative of 24hrs of military activity.
Without context, the report reads as a list of different attacks on the terrorists with no apparent meaning other than removing ISIS fighters and equipment from the battlefield.
Closer inspection matches our recent brief analysis of the last round of reported strikes: the fight in the vital province of Anbar grinds on with no decisive gains, despite critical battles to re-take Fallujah and Ramadi.
In those towns, strikes on “house borne improvised explosive devices” (booby trapped houses) and other buildings suggest that the Iraqi army are crawling forward in a slow urban slog. Overwhelming numbers of Iraqi govt. forces suggest this may be a losing fight for ISIS in the long run, provided Coalition air support continues.
At Baghdadi and Habbaniyah–both in proximity of major Iraqi army and US adviser installations, it appears ISIS continue to make sporadic moves to attack these critical sites.
At Baiji, near the strategic (but now largely destroyed) oil refinery, an ongoing battle of attrition may hopefully sap ISIS manpower for little gain–strikes continue there every day.
Likewise, heavy air strikes around Sinjar and Mosul on the Kurdish/ Peshmerga front suggests that ISIS continue their policy of costly attacks against the Kurdish region, losing forces for no gain.
The strikes in Iraq were listed as follows:
Near Baghdadi, an airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building.
— Near Huwayjah, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL tunnels and an ISIL vehicle.
— Near Beiji, three airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units and destroyed eight ISIL buildings, an ISIL roadside bomb and an ISIL carport.
— Near Habbaniyah, an airstrike destroyed three ISIL rocket rails.
— Near Kirkuk, an airstrike struck an ISIL mortar firing position.
— Near Mosul, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, two ISIL rocket firing positions and an ISIL mortar firing position and destroyed three ISIL berms and 14 ISIL fighting positions.
— Near Ramadi, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL house-borne bomb, an ISIL vehicle bomb, five ISIL buildings, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL motorcycle.
— Near Sinjar, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL fighting position, an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL cache.
(Source: US Department of Defence)