The White House has announced plans to intensify the anti-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) campaign against terrorists in Iraq and Syria.
Disclosed by a senior US Department of Defence (DoD) official, the plans aim to enhance military strategies ‘that are working while moving away from those that are not’.
The DoD has outlined five additional objectives for the campaign to maximise pressure on ISIL and achieve strategic success.
The first objective will be to enhance training in Iraq, particularly in counter-improvised explosive devices, counter-breaching and combined arms, thereby enabling Iraqi forces to take back Ramadi and Beiji from ISIL.
Secondly, new Syrian forces and equipment will be supplied to take and hold the ISIL stronghold of Raqqa.
As part of this objective, a special operations team, consisting of less than 50 personnel, will be deployed to northern Syria. They will help coordinate local ground forces in advise-and-assist roles, such as operational planning and logistics.
The US Special Operations Forces could also be used to support continued raids in Iraq and Syria, but will not participate in joint operations.
The third objective is to secure northern Syria’s border with Turkey to reduce the flow of foreign fighters, material and money to ISIL, while bolstering air operations in the region.
A-10s and F-15s will be deployed to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.
The fourth objective is to degrade ISIL lines of communication, putting strain on ISIL connections between Raqqa and Mosul in Iraq.
Finally, the US seeks to reinforce Jordanian and Lebanese defences, with the latter likely to have doubled security assistance to protect against ISIL’s and other terrorist groups’ encroachment.