Jazeera Storm Unleashed to Clear ISIS from Khabur Valley
Syrian-Arab Coalition Begins ISIS Clearing Operation in Eastern Syria
Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve welcomed the announcement, September 9, by the Syrian Arab Coalition of the commencement of their offensive to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the Khabur River Valley, dubbed “Operation Jazeera Storm,” north of Dayr Az Zawr in eastern Syria.
Dayr Az Zawr Military Coalition to Lead Operation
The Syrian Arab Coalition is a multi-ethnic, battle-tested, proven partner force in the coalition’s fight to defeat ISIS in northern Syria. The operation will be run by the Dayr Az Zawr Military Coalition.
US Army Lieutenant General Paul E. Funk II, commanding general of the CJTF Operation Inherent Resolve, said that the fight for the Khabur River Valley is a strategic axis of advance towards the Middle Euphrates River Valley, one of the last holdouts of ISIS.
“The very existence of ISIS poses a real threat to the civilized world and our way of life,” Funk said. “Our collective effort will defeat them.”
Coalition forces will support the SAC during the Khabur River Valley offensive as part of their advise and assist mission, providing equipment, training, intelligence and logistics support, precision fires and battlefield advice.
Once the Khabur River Valley is cleared of ISIS, the SAC states the region will be turned over to representative bodies of local civilians who will then oversee security and governance as with Tabqa and Manbij.
The SAC is operating along two corridors, and the local citizens and non-combatants in those areas are evacuating northward to SAC-controlled safe areas. The coalition takes every precaution to prevent needless human suffering and casualties.
Airstrikes Kill Senior ISIS Leaders in Syria
Earlier this month, coalition airstrikes killed two senior ISIS leaders near Mayadin, Syria, September 4, according to an announcement from CJTF-OIR, September 7. The removal of these key ISIS leaders disrupts ISIS’s weapons engineering activities.
ISIS Weapons Developer: Abu Anas al-Shami
Abu Anas al-Shami, an ISIS weapons research leader, was killed by a Coalition airstrike near Mayadin, Syria. Al-Shami led ISIS’s attempts to procure explosives and devised plans to use bombs for external terror attacks. Al-Shami also oversaw the building of improvised explosives to rig corpses, vehicles and buildings against local forces and civilians to inflict terror, death and destruction.
ISIS Drone Specialist: Junaid ur Rehman
Junaid ur Rehman, a senior ISIS drone pilot trainer and engineer, was killed by a Coalition airstrike in the village of al-Ashara, Syria, south of Mayadin. Rehman was an experienced engineer who was working to increase ISIS’s ability to weaponize drones and to conduct aerial surveillance on the battlefield and plot attacks throughout the world.
The Coalition will continue to exert pressure on ISIS senior leaders and associates across multiple networks in order to degrade, disrupt, and dismantle ISIS structures and remove the extremist terrorists throughout Iraq and Syria.
Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk is the Commanding General, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, U.S. Central Command; and the Commanding General of III Armored Corps and Fort Hood, Texas. This is Lt. Gen. Funk’s sixth deployment. He has been privileged to lead Soldiers in combat during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, twice in Operation Iraqi Freedom, in Operation Enduring Freedom, and in Operation Inherent Resolve.
Source: US Department of Defense
Image: Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), unloading an MT-LB, Raqqa, 7 February 2017 (VOA, 2017).