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Iraq carries out first cross-border air raid in Syria, targeting ISIS

Iraqi forces carried out the first cross-border airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office announced.

“According to the orders of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Dr. Haider Al-Abadi, our heroic air force carried out, on Thursday, in Syria near Iraqi border deadly air strikes against Daesh’s Terrorists gangs,” the prime minister’s office tweeted on Thursday, April 19.

It is the first acknowledged Iraqi airstrikes in Syrian territory. According to reports, the Iraqi army said the raid was carried out in coordination with Damascus.

On April 1, Abadi said the Iraqi military had plans to fight “terror in the region,” including beyond its borders.

The U.S.-led Coalition has recently conducted airstrikes against ISIS near Hajin and Dashisha.

“I will say is that they’re isolated in these two areas that I talked about. Number one is in and around this, you know, town called Hajin, which is right along the Euphrates River and runs north from Abu Kamal. So ISIS fighters are concentrated there. And then also in Dashisha, which is due west of Deir ez-Zor city proper, but on the east side of the Euphrates River along the Syria-Iraq border. That is where ISIS in eastern Syria is concentrated and that’s where we are going after them,” CJTF-OIR spokesperson Colonel Ryan Dillon told reporters in a press briefing on Monday.

Update, April 19: In a statement, the Coalition said it provided intelligence support to Iraq for the airstrike.

“The Iraqi air force conducted an air strike near Hajin, Syria, against Daesh terrorists operating near the Iraq-Syria border on April 19 … The operation was planned and executed by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command with intelligence support from the Coalition.” CJTF-OIR said.

Hajin lies to the east side of the Euphrates River deconfliction line, the area within which the Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces conduct operations.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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