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Hundreds of Sunni Muslim Iraqis Killed by US-Led Air Strikes, Shi'i Government, and Kurdish Forces

May 4, 2016 

Editor's Note:

The US-led coalition which fights the Islamic State in northern Iraq consists of US-led NATO forces, Iraqi Shi'i government forces, Iranian-backed Shi'i militias, and Kurdish peshmerga forces. The coalition's continuous attacks have resulted in the killing of thousands of Iraqi Sunni Muslim Arabs and the eviction of thousands as a result of the destruction of their cities and villages.

Millions of Iraqi Sunni Muslim Arabs are expected to leave their cities and villages as the fighting intensifies towards an all-attack by the US-led coalition on Mosul. The end outcome is going to be evicting Sunni Muslim Arabs from the upper Euphrates region of northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria. 


A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter passes by burned Islamic State burned vehicle after fighting in Tel Asqof, Northern Iraq, May 4, 2016 US-led air strike on ISIS-held areas of northern Iraq, file, 2016


Counter-ISIL Strikes in Iraq

From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release

SOUTHWEST ASIA, May 4, 2016 —

U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Iraq yesterday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Iraq

Ground-attack, fighter, bomber, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 22 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Albu Hayat, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Bashir, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL assembly area and an ISIL vehicle bomb.

-- Near Beiji, a strike destroyed three ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Fallujah, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units, destroying an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL supply cache, an ISIL vehicle bomb, two ISIL beddown locations, six ISIL tunnel entrances, an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL improvised artillery piece and degrading two ISIL trenches.

-- Near Hit, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Mosul, 10 strikes struck nine separate ISIL tactical units and an ISIL headquarters and destroyed nine ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL heavy machine gun, three ISIL large machine guns, two ISIL weapons caches, four ISIL mortar systems, 17 ISIL vehicles, an ISIL bulldozer, two ISIL-used bridges, two ISIL vehicle bombs and an ISIL fuel truck.

-- Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL assembly area.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL heavy machine gun.


6 ISIS members killed by Iraqi army shelling south of Mosul

By Abdelhak Mamoun - May 4, 2016 .

( Nineveh –

A source in Nineveh Liberation Operations Command announced on Wednesday, that six members of the so-called ISIS were killed by Iraqi army shelling targeted their headquarters south of Mosul (405 km north of Baghdad).

The source said in a statement obtained by, “The artillery of the army’s 15th brigade targeted ISIS detachment in Haj Ali village in Makhmur District south of Mosul.”

The source, who asked anonymity, added, “The shelling resulted in the killing of six members of ISIS.”

22 strikes conducted by US-led coalition against ISIS near 8 Iraqi Cities

By Loaa Adel - May 4, 2016 SHARE

( Baghdad –

On Wednesday, Joint Task Force announced conducting 22 strikes against ISIS near eight Iraqi cities.

The Joint Task Force said in a press statement followed by, “Yesterday the coalition forces carried out 22 strikes against ISIS in Iraq,” pointing out that, “The coalition attacked ISIS using ground attacks, fighter aircraft and drones.”

The statement added, “The strikes targeted the cities of Albu Hayat, al-Bashir, Baiji, Fallujah, Heet, Mosul, Sinjar and Sultan Abdullah, and destructed tactical units and weapons belonging to ISIS.”

Peshmerga forces gain control over Tal-Skuf north of Mosul

By Amre Sarhan - May 4, 2016

( Nineveh –

On Tuesday, a source within the paramilitary Kurdish Peshmerga forces announced, that the Peshmerga forces gained control over the town of Tal-Skuf north of the city of Mosul.

The source said in a statement followed by, “Peshmerga forces had managed to regain control over the town of Tal-Skuf north of Mosul,” noting that, “The international coalition aviation, Nineveh Plain forces and volunteers had helped the Peshmerga forces.”

The source, who requested to remain anonymous, added, “Tens of ISIS [elements] were either killed or wounded inside the city,” pointing out that, “ISIS had used more than 40 suicide bombers and 25 booby-trapped vehicles in the operation.”

120 ISIS militants killed in Tel Skuf battles

By Abdelhak Mamoun - May 3, 2016

( Nineveh –

A source in Nineveh Province announced on Tuesday, that the Peshmerga forces managed to kill 120 ISIS militants in the battles taking place in Tel Skuf City north of Mosul (405 km north of Baghdad).

The source said in a statement received by, “Today, Peshmerga forces managed to kill 120 ISIS fighters in the battles taking place in Tel Skuf City north of Mosul,” adding that, “The Kurdish elite forces began attacking ISIS fighters to retake the areas seized by the organization in the District.”

Earlier today, ISIS attacked Tel Skuf City north of Mosul (405 km north of Baghdad), and was able to control some regions.

US-led coalition conducts 29 airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

By Loaa Adel - May 3, 2016

( Baghdad –

The Joint Task Force announced on Tuesday, that the US-led international coalition carried out 29 air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

The Joint Task Force said in a statement received by, “The coalition forces conducted 25 air strikes in Iraq, including 7 air strikes near Mosul, destructing two vehicles, three weapons caches, mortar shells and other targets.”

The statement added, “Six air strikes were conducted near Fallujah, destructing five combat sites belonging to ISIS and three tunnels used by the organization.”

“The coalition also conducted four air strikes in Syria near the cities of Shadadi, Raqqah and Maree. The air strikes hit a financial center, a weapons cache and two tactical units belonging to ISIS,” the statement continued.

9 ISIS militants killed by Iraqi army shelling south of Mosul

By Abdelhak Mamoun - May 3, 2016

( Nineveh –

An informed source in Nineveh Province announced on Monday, that nine ISIS militants were killed by a shelling conducted by the Iraqi army on ISIS gathering south of Mosul (405 km north of Baghdad).

The source said in a press statement obtained by, “The artillery of the army’s 15th brigade backed by Nineveh Liberation Operations Command targeted ISIS gatherings in Shayla village in Makhmur District south of Mosul.”

The source, who asked anonymity, added, “The shelling resulted in the killing of nine ISIS militants.”

12 ISIS members killed by coalition airstrike south of Mosul

By Abdelhak Mamoun - May 2, 2016 .

( Baghdad –

A source in Nineveh Operations Liberation Command announced on Monday, that 12 ISIS members were killed in an aerial bombardment south of Mosul (405 km north of Baghdad).

The source said in a statement obtained by, “This afternoon the international coalition aviation bombed ISIS headquarters near al-Nassar village in Qayyarah (60 km south of Mosul), killing 12 ISIS members.”

The source, who asked anonymity, added, “The security forces targeted a gathering of ISIS members in those areas.”

Security forces kill 91 ISIS elements, foil ISIS attack south of Mosul

By Amre Sarhan - Apr 29, 2016

( Nineveh –

Media officials with the Ministry of Defense announced on Friday the killing of 91 ISIS elements during clashes in the villages of Muhana and Khardan south of Mosul.

The officials said in a statement followed by, “The security forces had managed to kill 91 terrorists and foiled an attack by ISIS on the villages of Muhana and Khardan south of Mosul.”

Noteworthy, a security force was able to repel an ISIS attack on the village of al-Nasr south of the city of Mosul a few days ago. 


Spokesman Describes Battle That Left Navy SEAL Dead in Iraq

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, May 4, 2016 —

The Navy SEAL killed in a battle yesterday with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters responded to an early attack on peshmerga units about 2 miles behind the forward line of troops, Army Col. Steven Warren, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, said today.

Defense Department officials today identified the Navy SEAL as Petty Officer 1st Class Charles H. Keating IV, 31, of San Diego.

In a teleconference briefing with Pentagon reporters from Baghdad, Warren said Keating responded to the ISIL attack on the peshmerga forces as part of a U.S. quick-reaction force in the village of Tal Asquf at about 7:30 a.m.

“ISIL forces breached the peshmerga forward lines,” he said. “At [7:50 a.m.], the Americans there became involved in the ensuing firefight and called in a quick-reaction force,” he said.

“It is a group of very well-armed, very well-equipped, very well-trained American service members whose mission is to stand by, stand at the ready, when American forces are operating,” he said.

Keating was struck by direct fire shortly after 9:30 a.m., and though he was evacuated within what Warren called the “all-important golden hour” between being wounded and receiving medical treatment, his wound was not survivable.

“Our deepest heartfelt condolences go out to that American service member and his family,” Warren said. “He is an American hero. This is a reminder of the risk our men and women face every day supporting the fight against ISIL.”

ISIL Attack Was Large-Scale

“We think there were at least 125 enemy fighters involved in this fairly complicated, complex attack. So it was a big fight -- one of the largest we've seen recently,” the colonel said.

With several peshmerga outposts in the area, the force rapidly generated its series of counterattack forces, which numbered in the hundreds for the counterattack and regained control of Tal Asquf, Warren added.

No other coalition or American forces were injured, he said, but he added that both medical evacuation helicopters were damaged by small-arms fire. The peshmerga casualty numbers are not yet known, Warren said.

Coalition air responded with 31 strikes taken by 11 manned aircraft and two drones,” he said. “Air power destroyed 20 enemy vehicles, two truck bombs, three mortar systems [and] one bulldozer, [and] 58 ISIL terrorists were killed.”

ISIL Enters Battle in ‘Technicals’

Operation Inherent Resolve officials believe the attack is likely linked to a string of recent ISIL defeats and ongoing pressure, Warren said, adding that such a pattern has been observed.

“When they are back on their heels, they often will try a high-profile, high-visibility attack to gain some attention,” he told reporters.

ISIL moves into battle with vehicles the coalition calls “technicals,” Warren said, an all-encompassing term for homemade gun trucks. “They throw together these … ‘Jed Clampett’ [vehicles], bolt a machine gun onto the hood of a pickup truck, Gremlin or whatever they can find with four wheels and an engine,” he said.

ISIL troop-carrying vehicles have no standardization, he said. “This is a nonstandard military force that we're facing,” he said, “so it's a little bit of everything, … [and] we've destroyed 20 of them.”  


Carter: Counter-ISIL Defense Ministers Recognize All Must Do More

By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, May 4, 2016 —

Defense ministers who represent core countries contributing to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant all agreed that they will continue to do more to accelerate ISIL's lasting defeat, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today in Stuttgart, Germany, after the group’s second meeting.

The ministers, who first met Jan. 20 in Paris, represented Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“There was common recognition around the table that we all must be prepared to do more as we work with local, motivated and capable partners in Iraq and Syria,” Carter said. “That’s our strategic approach -- to implement the next plays of the coalition's military campaign.”

Actions Now in Play

Carter said actions now in play include stabilizing Iraq's Anbar province; generating Iraqi security forces, including peshmerga forces in the north, by training, equipping and positioning them; enveloping the city of Mosul; identifying and developing more local forces in Syria that can isolate and pressure the nominal ISIL capital of Raqqa; and providing more firepower, sustainment and logistics support to partners so they can collapse ISIL control over both cities.

“The United States … is already taking a number of key actions in Iraq and Syria to enable these next plays,” Carter said. Many of these I announced last week after [President Barack Obama’s] approval of them.”

In Iraq, the United States is placing advisors with Iraqi forces at brigade and battalion levels to enhance decision-making and responsiveness, leveraging Apache attack helicopters to support Iraqi efforts to envelop and retake Mosul, sending more rocket-artillery systems to support the Iraqi ground offensive, and providing $415 million to the peshmerga, one of the most effective fighting forces against ISIL, the secretary said.

“To do all this,” he added, “we're going to adjust how to use U.S. forces in Iraq and immediately bring in about 215 more of them.”

In Syria, the Defense Department increased U.S. forces from 50 to 300, using the extra 250 personnel, including special operations forces, to help expand ongoing efforts to identify, train and equip capable, motivated, local anti-ISIL forces there, especially among the Sunni Arab community, Carter said. And U.S. special operations forces will be able to incorporate partner special operations forces from other countries to augment coalition counter-ISIL efforts there, he added.

Ministers Meet

During the meeting in Stuttgart, the ministers began by discussing the situation on the ground in Iraq and confirmed the importance of an accelerated push to ultimately retake Mosul, the secretary said.

“We all recognized the need for economic and political, as well as military contributions, because much still hinges on nonmilitary aspects of countering ISIL,” he said. “Support for stabilization, multisectarian governance and reconstruction all will be critical to ensuring that ISIL stays defeated after it is defeated in Iraq.”

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian led a discussion of the state of the campaign in Syria. The ministers reviewed recent operational gains by local coalition-supported forces and discussed the importance of closing off the Manbij area to ISIL, given the flow of foreign fighters there and the potential for external plots against coalition members and nations, Carter said.

Supporting Partners

The ministers also discussed more resources needed to support coalition partners in the next steps of the campaign in logistics, trainers, ammunition, special operations forces, sustainment and medical supplies, spare parts for Iraqi equipment and support for stabilization efforts as the campaign frees territory from ISIL control.

“I’m confident,” Carter said, “that today's meeting will accordingly produce additional military commitments.”

The fight is far from over, and great risks remain, he added.

“We were reminded of this yesterday when an American service member, Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Keating, a Navy SEAL, was killed while providing advice and assistance for the peshmerga forces north of Mosul who were directly in the fight,” the secretary said.

Continuing Risk

“We greatly regret his loss, Carter added, “but allowing ISIL safe haven would carry greater risk for us all.”

Video Player 00:00 00:00 | 00:00 Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Defense Secretary Ash Carter gives opening remarks in Stuttgart, Germany, at a meeting of defense ministers whose nations are leading the effort to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, May 4, 2016.

Carter said the ministers agreed to meet again this summer in Washington, along with their counterparts from other partners in the counter-ISIL effort.

“That will allow these discussions to continue and widen,” the secretary added, “with all the other partners -- for example the Gulf partners, with whom I had discussions two weeks ago in Riyadh in advance of the president's summit there. Together, we will -- we must -- deliver ISIL a lasting defeat.”


U.S., allies agree to do more to combat Islamic State

Reuters, Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 9:29pm EDT

By Phil Stewart

STUTTGART, Germany --

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Wednesday that Washington and its allies had agreed to do more in their campaign to defeat Islamic State but that more risks lay ahead.

Carter made the comment following talks in Germany with defense ministers and representatives from 11 other nations participating in the alliance.

He said the United States greatly regretted the death of a Navy SEAL in an attack by the jihadist group in northern Iraq on Tuesday. He named the man as Petty Officer First Class Charles Keating.

"These risks will continue ... but allowing ISIL safe haven would carry greater risk for us all," he added, using an acronym for Islamic State.

"We also agreed that all of our friends and allies across the counter-ISIL coalition can and must do more as well, both to confront ISIL in Iraq and Syria and its metastases elsewhere."

The talks included ministers from France, Britain and Germany and were planned well in advance of Tuesday's attack, in which Islamic State fighters blasted through Kurdish defenses and overran a town.

The elite serviceman was the third American to be killed in direct combat since the U.S.-led coalition launched a campaign in 2014 to "degrade and destroy" Islamic State, and is a measure of its deepening involvement in the conflict.

Offering new details about Keating's mission, Carter said the SEAL's job was to operate with Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces to train and assist them north of the city of Mosul.

"That part of the peshmerga front came under attack ... and they found themselves in a firefight," Carter said.

In mid-April, the United States announced plans to send an additional 200 troops to Iraq and put them closer to the front lines of battle to advise Iraqi forces.

In late April, President Barack Obama announced he would send an additional 250 special operations forces to Syria, greatly expanding the U.S. presence on the ground there to help draw in more Syrian fighters to combat Islamic State.


Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide told Reuters that the ministers discussed ways to escalate the military fight against Islamic State and deal with concurrent humanitarian crises but that it was clear more hard work remained.

"There is no doubt Islamic State is under pressure ... but one has to be realistic," she said in a telephone interview. "This is difficult, this is complex. It's going to take a long time."

Soereide said Norway's decision this week to send 60 troops, including special forces soldiers, to support Syrian fighters, was made possible partly by the more structured plan for coordinating the fight against Islamic State that had emerged in recent months.

The Islamist militants have been broadly retreating since December, when the Iraqi army recaptured Ramadi, the largest city in the western region. Last month, the Iraqi army retook the nearby region of Hit, pushing the militants farther north along the Euphrates valley.

But U.S. officials acknowledge the military gains are not enough.

Iraq is beset by political infighting, corruption, a growing fiscal crisis and the Shi'ite Muslim-led government's fitful efforts to seek reconciliation with aggrieved minority Sunnis, the bedrock of Islamic State support.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by John Stonestreet and Peter Cooney)


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