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US intentionally holding back attacks on obvious key ISIL targets in Syria, Iraq: Report

In this archival picture, a US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle flies over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria. (© AFP)

The US, which is leading a bombing campaign against purported ISIL positions in Syria and Iraq, is intentionally avoiding carrying out attacks against certain high-profile ISIL targets in the two countries despite having precise information about them, a report says.

According to a report published by The New York Times on Tuesday, US intelligence officers have identified seven buildings as “the main headquarters” of ISIL in the Syrian city of Raqqa, located 550 kilometers (341 miles) northeast of the capital, Damacus.

However, the report said, the buildings have gone “untouched” during the US-led bombing campaign, which started in September 2014.

“We have not taken the fight to these guys,” the pilot of an American A-10 attack plane said in a recent email on condition of anonymity. “We haven’t targeted their centers of gravity in Raqqa. All the roads between Syria and Iraq are still intact with trucks flowing freely.”

In this file photo, a US F/A-18 fighter jet takes off for Iraq from the flight deck of the US Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, in the Persian Gulf. (© AP) 


The New York Times report said that heavily-armed ISIL militants “paraded triumphantly” in the streets of Ramadi, the provincial capital of Iraq’s western province of al-Anbar, last week without being targeted by the US. “They rolled on unscathed by coalition fighter bombers.”

The refusal by the US to target the “obvious” ISIL targets comes while “American and allied warplanes are equipped with the most precise aerial arsenal ever fielded.”

Some Iraqi military officers argue that the US is allowing columns of the ISIL terrorists free movement on the battlefield too frequently.

“The international alliance is not providing enough support compared with ISIS (ISIL)’s capabilities on the ground in Anbar,” said Major Muhammed al-Dulaimi, an Iraqi officer in the Iraqi Anbar Province.

“The US airstrikes in Anbar didn’t enable our security forces to resist and confront the ISIS (ISIL) attacks,” the Iraqi officer said. “We lost large territories in Anbar because of the inefficiency of the US-led coalition airstrikes.”

The report said US officials attempt to justify the inaction on the ISIL targets by presenting concerns that carrying out airstrikes against them could potentially cause collateral damage.

In this file photo, a formation of US Navy F-18E Super Hornets leaves after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over northern Iraq, as part of the US-led airstrikes on purported ISIL targets in Syria. (© AP)


The ISIL terrorists currently control swathes of territory across Syria and Iraq. They have committed heinous atrocities in both countries, including the mass execution and beheading of local residents and foreign nationals.

Since September 2014, the US along with some of its regional allies has been conducting airstrikes against the ISIL inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate. The airstrikes in Syria are an extension of the US-led aerial campaign against purported ISIL positions in Iraq, which started in August 2014.

Many of the countries joining the so-called anti-terror coalition, such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have been staunch supporters of the Takfiri elements fighting against the Syrian government.


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