US-led raids destroy ISIL bridges on Syria-Iraq border: Monitor
BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
In this September 23, 2014 US Air Forces Central Command file photo shows a US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle flying over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria. AFP PhotoUS-led coalition air strikes destroyed two key bridges used by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group on Syria's side of the border with Iraq early on July 31, a monitoring group said.
The coalition "destroyed two bridges between the Syrian city of Albu Kamal and the Iraqi border," said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"These bridges are strategically important for IS[ISIL]'s movements between Albu Kamal and Iraq," he said.
ISIL seized the city of Albu Kamal and the nearby border crossing in July 2014, linking the group's territory in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor to areas it controls in Iraq's western Anbar province.
According to Abdel Rahman, the two bridges leading out of Albu Kamal -- one to the east, and one to the southeast -- were ISIL's "main routes to the Iraqi border",
"Using these bridges, it would take IS only a few minutes to reach the Iraqi border from Albu Kamal," he said.
"The strikes do not cut off IS's route to Iraq, but they make IS movements there more difficult, because it will take them longer and they will be in view (of the coalition) for a longer period of time," he added.
The Pentagon confirmed the air raids, saying they had struck ISIL-held bridges in Syria's Deir Ezzor province.
"Coalition forces struck multiple Daesh [ISIL] targets in the vicinity of the eastern Syria border to reduce the freedom of movement of Daesh," said Brigadier General Kevin Killea, chief of staff of the US-led coalition.
"These strikes will have a profound impact on the ability of Daesh in Syria to affect operations in Iraq, particularly in Ramadi," capital of Anbar province, Killea said.
The coalition launched air strikes on ISIL positions in Syria in September 2014, after the jihadists' spectacular advances on both sides of the border.