Iraq carries out more air strikes against Daesh in Syria

Area of Hajin in Deir Al Zor province targeted where at least 65 senior Daesh leaders believed to be

Baghdad: Iraq announced Friday it had carried out air strikes against Daesh in Syria, the third cross border aerial operation inside a month in its war-torn neighbour.

“Iraqi F-16 planes carried out (Thursday) morning raids against the headquarters of Daesh terrorist gang leaders and an explosives depot occupied by terrorists in Syria’s Hajin region,” a statement by Iraq’s operations command said.

A video released with the text shows a strike on a huge building surrounded by palm trees and a wall.

The images show the wall and the building collapsing simultaneously.

Several strikes have been carried out by Iraq or the international coalition since Thursday against the centre of Hajin, the last major area held by Daesh in Syria, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.

At least 65 senior Daesh leaders live in Hajin, the Observatory’s director Rami Abdul Rahman told AFP.

Hajin is in Deir Al Zor province in eastern Syria, about 50 kilometres from Iraq’s border.

It has been surrounded since the end of 2017 by the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters backed by the United States and France, Abdul Rahman said.

Several hundred prisoners are still held by the militants in Hajin, he added.

Since April, Iraq’s air force has carried out several air strikes on Daesh-held Syrian territory close to the border between the two countries.

Daesh seized a third of Iraq in 2014, before the government declared victory in December, but the military has continued regular operations along the porous Syrian border.

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