The U.S. military has just begun its air offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and the results are already showing, the Pentagon said Tuesday. The expansive U.S. airstrikes have "destroyed or damaged" ISIS targets in northern Syria, marking the first time the U.S. military has struck Syria in its on-going campaign to take out ISIS. It's also the first time Middle Eastern nations have joined the U.S. in the now-global fight against the brutal terrorist group.
According to the Pentagon, the overnight assault was launched across four cities in northern and eastern Syria: Ar Raqqah, Dayr az Zawr, Abu Kamal and Al Hasakah. In total, 14 airstrikes were carried out. They targeted a number of ISIS facilities, including training compounds, command and finance centers and storage areas. Armed vehicles and supply trucks were also reportedly hit. Multiple ISIS targets were "destroyed or damaged," Pentagon officials said.
"We wanted to make sure that ISIL knew they have no safe haven, and we
certainly achieved that," Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters on Tuesday.
Five Middle Eastern nations either accompanied or supported the U.S. military in this round of airstrikes: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The Pentagon did not expand on how each country participated.
Since the start of the ISIS conflict, the U.S. military has carried out nearly 200 airstrikes on terrorist targets in the region. Going forward, the Pentagon said the U.S. will continue its air assault on Iraq and Syria while local fighters make headway on the ground.
Promising to "eradicate the cancer" of ISIS from the region, President Barack Obama is certainly escalating the military campaign against the terrorist group. The president is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, when he will most likely try to rally support for an international coalition against ISIS. The coalition is part of Obama's strategy to not only defeat ISIS, but to also help Iraqis build and stabilize their own government.
To defeat ISIS, we must cut off the head of the snake, which exists in Syria. I support the administration's move to conduct airstrikes against ISIS wherever it exists. ISIS is not just a threat to the United States - it is a threat to all nations that value human life and decency. We must continue to lead the coalition and utilize all tools available to combat this threat until ISIS is destroyed.
Images: Getty Images (2)