Thursday, March 10, 2016
Information From Captured ISIL Leader Enables Counter-Chemical Strikes
Karen Parrish at the DoD News offers the below report:
WASHINGTON, March 10, 2016 — The U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has launched multiple airstrikes against the terrorist group’s chemical weapons capabilities, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook (seen in the above DoD photo) told reporters today.
Cook said the strikes were based, in part, on information provided by an ISIL captive.
During an operation in Iraq in February, Cook said, coalition forces captured Sulayman Dawud al-Bakkar, also known as Abu Dawud, ISIL's “emir” of chemical and traditional weapons manufacturing.
His capture removed a key ISIL leader from the battlefield and provided the coalition with important information about ISIL's chemical weapons facilities, production, and the people involved, the press secretary noted. Dawud was transferred earlier today into the custody of Iraq’s government, Cook added.
“We’re confident that the strikes that have been conducted have disrupted and degraded [ISIL’s] chemical weapons capabilities,” he said.
Chemical Strikes ‘Another Component’ of Campaign
While the chemical program may not have been “knocked out in full,” Cook said, “we feel confident that we’ve made a difference … and this information was very helpful in conducting these strikes.”
The information collected “will continue to inform our operations in the future,” the press secretary added.
Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve airstrikes have targeted ISIL units, equipment, oil refining and transport operations, cash collection centers and now chemical sites, he said.
“We feel good about what’s been accomplished here,” Cook said. “And … we’re not done.”
ISIL has shown its willingness to use chemical weapons, the press secretary said.
“We’ve seen their use demonstrated in Syria and Iraq,” he said, “and we’re going to continue to do everything we can, working with our coalition partners, and of course the Iraqi government as well, to try and address the use of these agents.”