An F-16 sits on at an airbase in Iraq. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – An Iraqi military spokesperson claims the Iraqi airstrikes on ISIS positions in Syria which took place on April 19 killed 36 fighters, including six of the group’s leaders.
In a statement on Sunday, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool said a number of meeting places were targeted in the strikes, which were arranged in coordination with the Syrian government, Reuters reports.
“The airstrikes targeted hideouts and terrorists who pose a threat to Iraq,” Rasool said in a statement, according to Anadolu.
"Based on the orders from Abadi, the commander in chief, our air forces by using F-16 war planes bombarded ISIS terrorists' positions in Syria on the border with Iraq on Thursday," the Iraqi Air Force tweeted this week.
Rasool said the strikes were carried out in coordination with the Syrian government and were launched from within Iraqi borders, Reuters reported.
The anti-ISIS coalition announced that they provided intelligence support for the operation that was "planned and executed by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command."
Iraq's Air Force released video on Tuesday of an F-16 fighter jet taxiing on what appears to be a military air base.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed that he gave the orders.
"Our heroic air force carried out on Thursday in Syria near [the] Iraqi border deadly air strikes against Daesh's terrorist gangs," tweeted the PM's media office, using another term for ISIS.
Iraq immediately did not specify material damages or exact locations.
There have been pockets of ISIS resistance in western parts of Iraq's Anbar province that borders Deir ez-Zor governorate in Syria. Control of the strategic Middle Euphrates River Valley on both sides would strengthen border defenses against the insurgent group.
Over the past two days, there have been "violent attacks" between ISIS and pro-regime loyalists of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities in Mayadin, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
Mayadin, is about 85 kilometers northwest of the al-Boukamal (Syria) and al-Qaim (Iraq) border crossing.
Abadi has previously ordered strikes in Syria against ISIS. He did so for the first time on February 2017.
He declared a total military defeat over ISIS in Iraq in December 2017.