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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Iraq air force carry out strikes against ISIS in Syria

Military says F16s deployed in co-ordination with the Syrian government

Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said the Iraqi strikes on ISIS targets in Syria were carried out with F16 jets. Iraqi Air Force / AFP Photo
Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said the Iraqi strikes on ISIS targets in Syria were carried out with F16 jets. Iraqi Air Force / AFP Photo

The Iraqi air force carried out strikes on ISIS inside Syria on Thursday as the defeated extremist group becomes increasingly active in both countries.

The air strikes were carried out in co-ordination with the Syrian government and were launched from inside Iraq's borders, a military spokesman said.

Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said the strikes were carried out with F16 jets, while the prime minister's office said the targets were near the border.

A video released by the air force showed two F-16 fighter jets in action.

Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi declared victory over ISIS in December after security forces seized the last pockets of Iraqi territory held by the militants. But recent months have seen ISIS carry out attacks in the north, killing dozens of civilians in an offensive that could disrupt elections in May.

Mr Al Abadi is seeking another term after taking office in September 2014, nearly four months after the Iraqi army collapsed in the face of an ISIS assault, leaving the extremist group in control of nearly a third of Iraq.

The Iraqi air strikes were launched as military and security officials from Iraq, Iran, Syria and Russia met in Baghdad to coordinate "anti-terrorism" efforts, according to a statement from the Iranian defence ministry.

"Cooperation in intelligence between the four countries for common aims and anti-terrorism missions has been successful in restoring stability and security, and it should form the basis for future cooperation," Iranian Defence Minister General Amir Hatami said in a statement issued from the Iraqi capital.

He said the "coalition" had played an "important role in the defeat" of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.

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Meanwhile, ISIS launched a surprise attack near a town in eastern Syria they had lost six months ago, killing at least 25 regime forces, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

At least 13 militants were killed in the attack near Mayadeen on Wednesday afternoon, the monitor said.

Mayadeen lies in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, on the western bank of the Euphrates River and is flanked by the vast Badia desert to its west and south.