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Pentagon Claims Airstrike Killed 150 ISIS Fighters In Syria

Although many parts of the government were shut down over the weekend, the military was hard at work.

Fox News reported that, according to the Defense Department, an airstrike in Syria on Saturday killed 150 alleged ISIS militants. Officials with the U.S. Central Command said the attack targeted an area in the Euphrates River valley, close to the Iraqi border.

The terrorist group now controls only about 2 percent of the territory in the region that it previously dominated. The only remaining stronghold is reportedly Al-Shaafah, Syria, where the Pentagon thinks ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is hiding.

A Defense Department statement explained that Americans “assisted in target observation prior to the strikes.” Officials said the attack on an ISIS headquarters, with a “heavy concentration” of terrorists, occurred as the militants were getting ready to abandon the area.

However, the commanding general of the special operations joint task force warned that ISIS is still a threat. “The strikes underscore our assertion that the fight to liberate Syria is far from over,” said the official, Maj. Gen. James Jarrard.

"Our (Syrian Defense Forces) partners are still making daily progress and sacrifices, and together we are still finding, targeting and killing ISIS terrorists intent on keeping their extremist hold on the region.”

He added: “We cannot take our focus off our mission, and we must not lose our momentum in taking these terrorists off the battlefield and preventing them from resurfacing somewhere else.” According to the Pentagon statement, ISIS continues to “mass large numbers in its attempt to retain a stronghold in Syria.”

The Independent recently reported that the 16-year-old “war on terror” has killed millions of people, including an unknown number of civilians who were not affiliated with any terrorist organization. While many of the deaths have resulted from airstrikes, others have been due to “disease, illness, (and) gruesome tortures performed by local and foreign insurgents,” according to the British online newspaper.

A New York Times investigation indicated that up to 20 percent of the airstrikes by the United States and its allies in Iraq in 2014 involved civilian deaths, 31 times more than the 786 casualties the Defense Department reported. “The unfortunate death of civilians is a fact of war that weighs heavy on our hearts,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said.

When the Independent asked how many Iraqi civilians have been killed since the U.S. invaded the country in 2003, Pahon acknowledged that he did not know the answer. The Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, the official name of the coalition fighting ISIS, also declined to provide a number.

However, officials are fully aware of the death toll when it comes to their own troops. As of last November, 6,771 U.S. soldiers had been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2004, The Lancet published a report by the Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health that estimated the number of Iraqis killed in the initial invasion and occupation at more than 100,000. Two years later, the same researchers found that the figure had soared to almost 650,000.

Although U.S. and British officials refuted the statistic, Physicians for Social Responsibility reported in 2015 that more than a million people had died in Iraq since the U.S. invasion 12 years earlier.

Source: Fox News
Photo: Wikimedia Commons, YouTube

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