SOUTHWEST ASIA —
Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve continues to support partner forces efforts to defeat ISIS in designated areas of Iraq and Syria, and is setting conditions for the enduring defeat of ISIS in the Middle Euphrates River Valley, Syria, Jan. 20 - 27, 2019.
In Iraq, on Jan. 21, local police forces in Baghdad and Diyala increased warrant-based targeting, which resulted in 11 arrests of individuals accused of terrorism and associated with ISIS. Baghdad police use warrant-based targeting developed by Coalition training, which they consider a key skill set in the collection and management of information, as well as the collection of evidence to support investigations with the aim to prosecute offenders in a proper manner. As an important component of the ISF, Iraqi police forces continue to improve their capability to enforce sovereign Iraqi laws.
Since its establishment in June 2015, the Police Training Force-Iraq has trained more than 26,000 policemen belonging to both local and federal police services. In 2019, PTF-I will transition to a train-the-trainer method aimed at supporting the self-sustainability of the Iraqi Police Forces.
The Baghdad Operational Command also released a statement announcing the opening of al-Rashid Street for the first time in 15 years. Al-Rashid Street is one of the oldest and considered the most important street in the city. Its opening showcases the increasing stability in the city, spearheaded by the collaborative relationship between Coalition and Iraqi Forces.
Additionally, Iraqi Security Forces destroyed more than 430 improvised explosive devices through route clearance patrols. CJTF-OIR and the ISF also conducted more than 65 coordinated fire missions, which destroyed ISIS weapons caches and hiding places and resulted in the removal of multiple ISIS fighters from the battlefield.
"This is definitely a positive step, and the Government of Iraq continues to take steps to create meaningful improvements which will attract much-needed investment for reconstruction projects across Iraq," said U.K. Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika, deputy commander-strategy and information for Operation Inherent Resolve.
On Jan. 25, the 7th Division of the Iraqi Army conducted clearance operations in the Jazirah area to deny ISIS safe-havens and hiding places. During the clearance operations, 7IA identified an IED factory and seized multiple explosive-making components.
"The ISF has been doing extraordinary work getting out into some really tough areas to take the fight to ISIS. They are out there in tough, remote conditions, but the Iraqi Army is showing impressive resiliency and determination. By conducting these clearance operations, it has a tangible disruptive effect on the enemy by maintaining pressure and by taking away their critical capabilities," said U.S. Army Col. Derek Thomson, Joint Operations Command-Iraq deputy commander.
On Jan. 26, a coordinated air strike destroyed one ISIS safe-haven, which removed two ISIS terrorists from the battlefield.
In Syria, CJTF-OIR partner forces have now liberated approximately 99.5 percent of ISIS-controlled territory following the liberation of the town of Al-Marashidah in the Abu Kamal District of Deir ez-Zor.
"As we continue squeezing the remaining ISIS fighter in the MERV into a smaller box, now less than one percent of the original caliphate, they are attempting to escape through intermixing with the innocent women and children attempting to flee the fighting," added Ghika. "These tactics won’t succeed, our Syrian partners are focused on finding ISIS wherever they hide, and our Iraqi partner have secured their borders ensuring ISIS cannot enter Iraq."