US Central Command, or CENTCOM, released three videos of US airstrikes on Islamic State facilities in Syria. The strikes, which are displayed below, are part of the opening salvo of the US air campaign against the Islamic State as well as the “Khorasan group,” a cadre of al Qaeda leaders and operatives who work with the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.
Earlier today, Lieutenant General William C. Mayville Jr., Director of Operations for the Joint Staff, conducted a briefing on the strikes in Syria. The operations were “organized in three waves,” Mayville said, according a news summary published at the Department of Defense’s website:
The first wave began around midnight in Syria, or 8:30 Eastern time, when “the USS Arleigh Burke in the Red Sea and the USS Philippine Sea in the northern Arabian Gulf launched more than 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles in eastern and northern Syria.”
On a map, Mayville indicated a target area around Aleppo and Ar-Raqqah. Most of the Tomahawk land-attack missile strikes were against Khorasan Group compounds, their manufacturing workshops and training camps, he said.
The second wave consisted of F-22 Raptors in their first combat role, F-15 Strike Eagles, F-16s, B-1 bombers and drones that launched from bases in the region around 9:00 p.m. Eastern time against targets in northern Syria, the general said.
The final wave occurred just after midnight.
F-18s from the USS George H.W. Bush in the northern Arabian Gulf and regionally based U.S. F-16s, among others, the general said, attacked targets in eastern Syria, including ISIL training camps and combat vehicles near Dier al Zour.
“Coalition partners participated in the second and third waves, supporting with a range of combat capabilities that began with combat air patrols to actual strikes on targets,” Mayville added. “The preponderance of coalition support was in the third wave.”
Mayville did not provide estimates of the number of Islamic State and al Qaeda, Al Nusrah, and Khorasan group leaders and fighters killed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 70 Islamic State and 50 Al Nusrah fighters and commanders were killed. Jihadists reported that an Al Nusrah Front sniper trainer known as Abu Yusuf al Turki was killed. [See LWJ reports, US airstrikes target Al Nusrah Front, Islamic State in Syria and US air war against jihadists in Syria begins.]
Strike on Islamic State vehicle staging near Abu Kamal, Syria:
Strike on Islamic State storage facility near Abu Kamal, Syria:
Strike on Islamic State compound northwest of Raqqah, Syria:
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