Tough Fights in Iraq, Syria

The US-led coalition had launched 65 airstrikes in the course of two weeks in the Fallujah area as of Friday morning, supporting operations to retake the city from ISIS, but Iraqi forces have faced heavy resistance from ISIS fighters so far, US Central Command said. “We’re watching the intensity of their resistance carefully, as this is an indicator of how hard they intend to defend and try to keep Fallujah,” CENTCOM spokesman Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder said in a phone briefing with Pentagon reporters. Iraqi forces also are working to isolate Mosul, and are involved in “tough fighting” there, he said. In Syria, Ryder said, the coalition had launched more than 55 airstrikes in five days in support of the Arab forces fighting to reclaim Manbij. Also Friday, US European Command announced that the Navy’s Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group flew multiple combat sorties in support of Operation Inherent Resolve from the Mediterranean Sea. The group had been operating out of the Central Command area of operations, though it recently had its deployment extended. The group transited the Suez Canal on June 2, EUCOM said.