Operation Inherent Resolve

 

Turkish, Moderate Syrian Forces Close Major ISIL Route

By Terri Moon Cronk | September 06, 2016

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WASHINGTON --

Turkish and moderate Syrian opposition forces last night closed northern Syria’s Jarabulus gap in a significant development in the counter- Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant campaign by cutting off ISIL access to a route between Manbij and Jarabulus, Defense Department Press Operations Director Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters today. 

U.S. soldiers with Battery C, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, Task Force Strike, load a high-explosive round into an M777 howitzer at Kara Soar Base, Iraq, Aug. 7, 2016. Battery C Soldiers support the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve mission by providing indirect fire support for Iraqi security forces as they continue to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant and retake terrain. The assistance and support these soldiers provide demonstrate the commitment of the United States as part of a coalition of regional and international nations joined together to defeat ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, the region and the wider international community. Army photo by 1st Lt. Daniel Johnson
U.S. soldiers with Battery C, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, Task Force Strike, load a high-explosive round into an M777 howitzer at Kara Soar Base, Iraq, Aug. 7, 2016. Battery C Soldiers support the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve mission by providing indirect fire support for Iraqi security forces as they continue to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant and retake terrain. The assistance and support these soldiers provide demonstrate the commitment of the United States as part of a coalition of regional and international nations joined together to defeat ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, the region and the wider international community. Army photo by 1st Lt. Daniel Johnson
U.S. soldiers with Battery C, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, Task Force Strike, load a high-explosive round into an M777 howitzer at Kara Soar Base, Iraq, Aug. 7, 2016. Battery C Soldiers support the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve mission by providing indirect fire support for Iraqi security forces as they continue to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant and retake terrain. The assistance and support these soldiers provide demonstrate the commitment of the United States as part of a coalition of regional and international nations joined together to defeat ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, the region and the wider international community. Army photo by 1st Lt. Daniel Johnson Load Round
U.S. soldiers with Battery C, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, Task Force Strike, load a high-explosive round into an M777 howitzer at Kara Soar Base, Iraq, Aug. 7, 2016. Battery C Soldiers support the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve mission by providing indirect fire support for Iraqi security forces as they continue to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant and retake terrain. The assistance and support these soldiers provide demonstrate the commitment of the United States as part of a coalition of regional and international nations joined together to defeat ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, the region and the wider international community. Army photo by 1st Lt. Daniel Johnson

The Jarabulus gap is about a 12-kilometer strip in Syria between Jarabulus on its east and Al Rai on its west, where Turkish and moderate Syrians moved Sept. 1 along that border, Davis said.

Turkish forces supported moderate Syrian opposition forces in the region to retake Jarabulus from ISIL control, he said.

“As of this moment, [ISIL] no longer controls any territory along the border,” Davis said.

Gap Clearance Critical

Clearing the gap was critical to stop the flow of enemy foreign fighters coming into Syria and onward to Iraq and to stop ISIL from exploiting the border to export terrorism out of Syria, Davis said.

“[Jarabulus gap] is a very porous border, but any place where ISIL has direct contact with that border only increases [its] ability to get people across,” he noted.

“Whether it’s foreign fighters coming in or terrorists going out, this will have a very significant impact and it’s a very important strategic development in our overall campaign to degrade and defeat [ISIL],” Davis said.

In addition to Turkish and moderate forces on the ground clearing the border area, Syrian Democratic Forces are working to clear Manbij, and they’ve moved back east across the Euphrates and are positioning themselves to move south toward Raqqa, Davis noted.

“ISIL is on the run,” he said.

Artillery Strike

The high-mobility artillery rocket system in Turkey made its first strike over the weekend, Davis added.

“The HIMARS capability is in use in Iraq and other places on the battlefield,” he said. “It is long range, very precise, [and] is another tool in the commander’s toolkit to be able to strike,” he said, adding that the ISIL target was a trapezoid between Jarabulus, Al Rai, Al-Bab and Manbij.

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)

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