Following Independence Day, the United States ramped up its aerial anti-Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) campaign in the Middle East, targeting the terrorist group with a new wave of airstrikes, described by the Associated Press as “one of its most sustained aerial operations carried out in Syria to date.”
The airstrikes honed in at the heart of the Islamic State stronghold city of Raqqa, which has been described as the capital of its operations in Syria. The U.S. carried out 18 separate airstrikes on ISIS positions in Raqqa, neutralizing several of the jihadi group’s vehicles and taking out 16 bridges, the AP reported.
“The significant airstrikes tonight were executed to deny [ISIS] the ability to move military capabilities throughout Syria and into Iraq,” Lt. Col. Thomas Gilleran, the spokesman for the anti-ISIS coalition, said. “This was one of the largest deliberate engagements we have conducted to date in Syria, and it will have debilitating effects on [ISIS’s] ability to move,” he added.
An anti-ISIS group in the area, called Raqqa Is Being Silently Slaughtered, reported that the airstrikes hit ISIS positions in the city center, a military checkpoint, and an ISIS-controlled brick factory.
But while the terror outfit faced the heavy assault from above, the Islamic fighters still continued to carry out military operations elsewhere.
In Hassakeh, Syria, ISIS suicide bombers blew up an explosives-filled truck in an attempt to damage a Syrian Army-held power plant, Syrian state media reported.
ISIS also continues to operate and expand in Iraq.
On Sunday morning, ISIS jihadis launched an offensive into the town of Haditha, located in Anbar province. Iraqi officials said the government successfully defended against the assault, killing 20 ISIS militants.