The push by US-backed Syrian rebels into the ISIS-held city of Manbij has produced a valuable intelligence haul, including tens of thousands of documents and terabytes of data giving the coalition a better image of how the group operates. US-backed rebels have surrounded the city, and reportedly gave ISIS 48-hours notice to leave, Al Jazeera reported. During this advance, rebels seized more than 10,000 items and more than four terabytes of digital information, said Army Col. Christopher Garver, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. “We are learning more about Daesh at all levels from this,” Garver said, using another term for ISIS, during a Friday briefing. “On a broad scale, we see Daesh has plans to insert their personnel into every facet of people’s lives, as one would expect a totalitarian state to do.” The coalition has seen information on how ISIS handles governance, including tax collection and management of central services, along with rewriting textbooks to indoctrinate youth, he said. “Finally, we have a better understanding of how Daesh facilitates foreign fighter movements into and out of Syria and Iraq, which gives us valuable insight into stopping the flow of foreign fighters into the region.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.