The U.S. has expanded its fight against ISIS with airstrikes in Syria on Monday night with a barrage of firepower, including Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles and a stealth F-22 Raptor, according to officials. The U.S. and its allies carried out 14 airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, according to a Centcom statement released early this morning. The operation marks the first time the U.S. has launched strikes in Syria, a new front in the battle against the terror group.
Several Arab nations are a part of the ongoing U.S. led operation. The nations are identified as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The stealth F-22 Raptor took part in the mission, a U.S. defense official said, marking the first time the pricey, controversial aircraft has been used in a combat operation.
“The United States employed 47 TLAMs launched from USS Arleigh Burke and USS Philippine Sea operating from international waters in the Red Sea and North Arabian Gulf, as well as U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps fighter, remotely piloted and bomber aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations,” Centcom said. “This is almost like a Desert Storm where we went in with lots of firepower, everything that the United States has. All of the best gear is going into this fight because we have to treat it like a very high threat environment,” ABC News consultant Col. Stephen Ganyard said.
The intensity of the attacks struck a fierce opening blow against the jihadists of the Islamic State, scattering its forces and damaging the network of facilities it has built in Syria that helped fuel its seizure of a large part of Iraq this year.
Separate from the attacks on the Islamic State, the United States Central Command, or Centcom, said that American forces acting alone “took action” against “a network of seasoned Al Qaeda veterans” from the Khorasan group in Syria to disrupt “imminent attack planning against the United States and Western interests.”
In a video posted online, a man in Idlib Province inspected a greenish metal hunk of what he said was the remainder of the munitions used in a strike. “No one knows what happened yet,” the man said. “This was the first time we have heard an explosion like this during this revolution.”