US-led coalition claims up to 150 IS militants killed in airstrikes
The US-led coalition has claimed to have killed up to 150 Islamic State fighters in airstrikes on a central area of the Euphrates River Valley in Syria, officials said Tuesday.
The air strikes took place Saturday near al-Shafah, in Deir Ezzor province, on an IS headquarters where fighters appeared to have been "massing for movement", a statement said, according to AFP.
"The precision strikes were a culmination of extensive intelligence preparation to confirm an [IS] headquarters and command and control centre in an exclusively IS-occupied location in the contested middle Euphrates River Valley."
IS still control pockets along the central area of Syria's Euphrates River Valley, having lost almost all of their territories in Syria and Iraq. They have been fighting hard in these last enclaves of their brutal rule, the US-led coalition have said.
"There's still have a heavy fight going on," said US Central Command spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Earl Brown.
"We are continuing to go after those guys that are trying to re-establish themselves. It's a hard fight right now."
The anti-IS Kurdish-Arab ground force, the Syrian Democratic Forces, had assisted aircraft with target observation prior to the strike.
"The combination of intelligence and continuous eyes on the target ensured no accidental engagement of non-military personnel," the statement read.
The coalition's highlighting of the SDF's role comes as Kurdish fighters in northern Syria are under assault by Turkey.
The US is trying to manage its relationship with NATO ally Turkey and continuing its support for Kurdish ground forces that have been crucial to the defeat of IS.
"Our SDF partners are still making daily progress and sacrifices, and together we are still finding, targeting and killing [IS] terrorists intent on keeping their extremist hold on the region," Major General James Jarrard said.