DOD: Anti-ISIS Operations in Iraq Still Paused, Syria Ops Continue

The US military is in “daily conversations” about resuming anti-Islamic State group operations in Iraq, but the pause has not yet been lifted despite reports of American forces targeting ISIS this week.

The US-led coalition suspended its anti-ISIS operations in Iraq earlier this month citing Iranian threats after the Jan. 3 drone strike killed Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Pentagon spokesman Jonathan R. Hoffman said Jan. 16 US forces are still co-located with Iraqi forces, and planning for operations can continue though “specific field activities do not take place,” he said. Regular operations inside Syria are continuing, he added.

The New York Times reported Jan. 16 that US forces had resumed joint operations with Iraq, without reporting a specific action. Hoffman told reporters that “at this time,” the military is “looking at when to fully restore them.” The US wants to work with Iraq on these actions as soon as possible, to be “friends and partners for a prosperous and sovereign Iraq.”

The Iraqi Parliament on Jan. 5 approved a non-binding resolution calling on the government to kick US forces out of the country. Since that vote, there has been no movement or changes in the US troop presence and Iraqi leaders have not pushed further for the removal.

“At this time there are no plans by the US military to withdraw from Iraq,” Hoffman said.