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Airstrikes Causing ISIL to Change Tactics

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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FORT MEADE, Md., Oct. 3, 2014 — Operations against the so-called Islamic State continue apace with 334 airstrikes against the terror group, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon today.

Those airstrikes, the admiral added, are causing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to change its tactics.

Kirby briefed on the situation in Iraq and Syria and the coalition that is building against ISIL. He said there have been, to date, 248 airstrikes in Iraq and 86 in Syria.

While U.S. forces are carrying the primary load now, more and more coalition nations are participating. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced today his government has approved airstrikes against ISIL.

The Defense Department has launched a new web page on defense.gov that focuses on the operations against ISIL. It contains an interactive map which will detail continued airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, including mission objectives, number of airstrikes and aircraft utilized, the admiral said. The direct link to the page is www.defense.gov/counter-isil.

New tactics

The airstrikes are having an effect and the ISIL terrorists are changing tactics, Kirby said.

“Not surprisingly, they have gotten better at concealment,” the admiral said. “Before the airstrikes … they pretty much had free reign. They don't have that free rein anymore, because they know we’re watching from the air.”

The terrorists have had to disperse, in part, because of the airstrikes inside Syria against fixed targets -- headquarters buildings, command-and-control nodes, finance centers and oil refineries.

ISIL remains dangerous

Though the terrorists are being degraded, they remain a potent and dangerous threat, Kirby said. The group continues to threaten areas in Fallujah and Ramadi in Iraq and areas in Northern Syria on the border with Turkey.

“We expect that they will continue to change their tactics, based on the increasing pressure they're going to get, not just from the air, but from the ground, with Iraqi security forces,” Kirby said.

And, while the enemy changes, coalition forces will adjust, too, the admiral said.

“Everybody paints them as this great adaptive, capable, agile enemy,” Kirby said. “We’re pretty adaptive, capable and agile ourselves.”

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @garamoneDoDNews