The U.S. government is considering a major expansion of airstrikes in Iraq to target ISIS’s logistics hubs and supply lines in operations intended to help the new government retake lost territory. The air campaign has so far been confined to categories such as protecting U.S. personnel in the northern city of Erbil, humanitarian relief operations and defending key infrastructure from ISIS. Obama plans to greenlight ‘sovereignty strikes’ intended to support operations by Iraqi security forces, Kurdish defense fighters and other groups fighting against ISIS. A defense official:
The strikes would support Iraqi forces on the ground and help them take back territory. It opens the aperture.
Officials say the recent strikes aimed at supporting pro-government forces around the Haditha dam – which bring the total number of airstrikes conducted to 143 – are part of the expanded remit for U.S. air power, which is being conducted in line with a growing list of requests from Baghdad as the U.S. seeks to support the new government in diminishing sectarian tensions.