U.S. Steps Up Raids Against Islamic State Militants in Syria

(Wall Street Journal) Gordon Lubold - The Pentagon said it has stepped up raids against Islamic State in Syria, conducting at least 10 helicopter and ground operations in December to kill or capture top militants. The raids are removing from the battlefield regional or local leaders who military officials believe play roles in planning and conducting attacks, mostly in rural areas. The U.S. is "doing more strikes because they have to," said Andrew Tabler, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a former White House and State Department official. "The reason why the threat is growing is the economic problems and the lack of a [political] settlement." Islamic State has maintained the ability to conduct terrorism operations in Syria and Iraq with as many as 1,800 fighters in Syria and more than 8,000 in Iraq, according to military officials. "While ISIS is significantly degraded in Iraq and Syria, the group does maintain the capability to conduct operations in the region," Army Gen. Erik Kurilla, who heads U.S. Central Command, said Thursday. "And we know the group has the desire to strike outside the region." The U.S. maintains about 1,000 service members at different locations inside Syria.

2022-12-26 00:00:00

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