The United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group continued its campaign against the militant faction Thursday with a series of 29 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, the Combined Joint Task Force said. Targets ranged from individual Islamic State units to buildings held by the Sunni extremist group.
Bombers and drones were utilized to carry out the airstrikes against the group, also known as ISIS. The majority of the attacks occurred in the vicinity of the Syrian cities of Raqqa, Kobani and Deir el-Zour, Reuters reports. The 12 Iraq airstrikes struck targets in the areas around Sinjar, Mosul and Fallujah. The military operations occurred just days after the U.S. and its allies carried out 18 airstrikes in the same regions. President Barack Obama announced ongoing airstrikes in September to "degrade and destroy" the Islamic State group.
Iraqi government forces teamed with allied militias Monday to drive ISIS militants out of Dhuluiya, a town near Baghdad, Reuters reported. Backed by the U.S.-led airstrikes, Iraqi soldiers launched the counterattack as part of a continued campaign to recapture territory seized by ISIS during its unprecedented offensive last June.
The Islamic State group took control of vast tracts of territory in Syria and northern Iraq, including the city of Mosul, which has become one of the faction’s major strongholds. The invasion caused many poorly equipped members of the Iraqi army to desert rather than stand their ground.
Iraqi leaders entered into a formal agreement with Iran this week to cooperate on measures against Islamic State group aggression. Iran has been implicitly supporting Iraqi defense forces for months by providing weaponry and training and sent its own troops to guard Shiite holy sites in the country.
Neighboring Turkey has also provided military aid to Iraq, training Kurdish peshmerga fighters to withstand Islamic State group attacks. Fighting near the Turkish border caused countless civilians to seek refuge in Turkey in recent months.