US, Arab allies bomb Syria; kill 120 militants

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Sep 24, 2014 11:43 IST

The United States and five Arab nations struck multiple ISIS targets in Syria using fighter jets, bombers and Tomahawk missiles on Monday night.

Going alone in a separate action, the US struck al Qaeda operatives, also in Syria, to foil an “imminent attack” they were planning against Americans and Western interests.

US military described the strikes as “very successful” but said they were not in a position to share precise details of the impact, apart from aerial shots of damaged ISIS facilities.

ISIS targets included fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command and control facilities, storage facilities, a finance center, supply trucks and armed vehicles.

These attacks were “only the beginning” of a long and sustained campaign to degrade and destroy ISIS, Director of Operations Lt Gen William C Mayville Jr told reporters.

Syria was notified of the strikes, and was warned against engaging US aircraft. The US insisted it did not coordinate the attacks with the Assad regime, or seek its permission.

Read: Why US air strikes on ISIS in Syria is bad news for India

Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Qatar participated in the strikes, the first four carrying out what is being called “kinetic action”, dropping bombs.

“America is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with these nations on behalf of our common security,” said President Barack Obama, before leaving for UNGA on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reaching New York for the UNGA on September 26 and comes to DC on September 29 for meetings with President Obama.

Read: Air raids may put Indian hostages at risk, worries govt

The two leaders are expected to discuss the situation in Syria and Iraq, and, specifically, ISIS, which continues to hold 39 Indian citizens it captured three months ago in Mosul.

In Monday night attacks, the US-led coalition conducted 14 strikes against ISIS targets in and around Ar Raqqah, Dayr az Zawr, Al Hasakah, and Abu Kamal in Syria.

The US used “47 TLAMs (Tomahawks) launched from USS Arleigh Burke and USS Philippine Sea operating from international waters in the Red Sea and North Arabian Gulf, as well as US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps fighter, remotely piloted and bomber aircraft deployed to the US Central Command area of operations”.

Th strikes were conducted in three waves. The first wave, starting at 8:30 pm US eastern (6:00 am in India), targeted Khorasan group facilities west of the Syrian city of Aleppo.

More than 40 Tomahawk missiles struck Khorasan group’s training camps, an explosives and munitions production facility, a communication building and command and control facilities.

US officials said the group, which had been under observation for a while, was in the “execution phase” of a terrorist attacks against American and western interests.

The second wave came at 9:00 pm US eastern (6:30 am in India) with F-22s (Raptors) and F-6s targeting ISIS headquarters and training compounds in northern Syria.

The third wave, that was launched just after midnight (9:30 am, India), targeted ISIS facilities in eastern Syria, and saw a massive participation of Arab allies.

US officials said they had not targeted the ISIS leadership individually and were aware that its fighters were being dispersed to hide among civilian populations.

Read: At least 150 Indians with ISIS, says MK Narayanan

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