In recent weeks, US and coalition aircraft have conducted 250 airstrikes in the region of Sinjar in northern Iraq, helping Peshmerga forces retake much of a critical highway ISIS uses to connect its strongholds of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, Syria. The offensive is coupled with multiple other campaigns across Iraq and Syria making up a “comprehensive campaign across the breadth and the depth of the battlefield,” coalition spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters Nov. 13. The Sinjar airstrikes alone have killed about 200 enemy fighters in recent days, along with taking out ISIS positions and vehicles to help the Peshmerga forces claim several kilometers of Highway 47. US advisers on the ground have been active in the battle, including posting on top of Mount Sinjar to help Peshmerga fighters place airstrikes. Advisers also have helped set up triag?e facilities and helped Kurdish medics treat wounded fighters. In a notable advancement in the fight, Iraqi Security Forces helicopters have been ferrying injured Peshmerga fighters from the front line, Warren said. “We are excited to see examples of the Kurds working together with the ISF,” Warren said.
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.