U.S.-led Coalition airstrikes in Syria’s Middle Euphrates River Valley last week killed up to 150 Islamic State fighters who were attempting to regroup in a building around As Safah, CJTF-OIR said.
“The precision strikes were a culmination of extensive intelligence preparation to confirm an ISIS headquarters and command and control center in an exclusively ISIS-occupied location in the contested Middle Euphrates River Valley” on January 20, the Coalition said.
The building “contained a heavy concentration of ISIS fighters who appear to have been massing for movement,” according to the Tuesday, January 23 press release.
The Coalition noted that the Syrian Democratic Forces “assisted in target observation prior to the strikes.”
“Our SDF 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,” the release quoted Special Operations Joint Task Force-OIR commander Maj. Gen. James Jarrard as saying.
Since Raqqa fell to the SDF and Coalition last year, ISIS fighters have continued to operate in pockets around the MERV. After the recapture of Raqqa, the Syrian Arab Army and its allies retook the west bank of the river, while the SDF is working to recapture the east bank. Fighting is ongoing, and the river serves as a de facto demarcation line between the Coalition and regime forces, as well as the Coalition-Russia deconfliction boundary for aircraft.
In December, Jaysh Maghawir al-Thawra, the sole remaining U.S.-backed vetted Syrian opposition group better known as MaT, repelled multiple ISIS attacks on the deconfliction zone near At Tanf.