Baghdad — The Iraqi Defense Ministry has said airstrikes against Islamic State locations in Syria weakened the militant group but did not completely eliminate the remaining terrorists, Iraqi News reports.
In remarks to Shafaq News, Brig. Gen. Yahia Rasool, spokesperson for the ministry, said, “the airstrikes helped reducing the danger of ISIS, but did not eliminate it totally. Some militants are in al-Shadadi region as well as regions near east of the Euphrates in Syria.”
Rasool did not rule out “more airstrikes against ISIS in Syria,” adding that it depends on commands of the military and intelligence leaders.”
On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi denied intentions to intervene within Syrian affairs, saying airstrikes against Islamic State will continue.
Last week, Iraq announced launching airstrikes against Islamic State locations in Syria. This came after Abadi said security troops will follow ISIS militants in the whole region, not only in Iraq.
The Iraqi-Syrian borders are under the control of joint troops of military and border guards.
On Thursday, the media office of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said Iraqi F-16 jets carried out deadly airstrikes against Islamic State locations in Syria from the Iraqi borders side.
Dozens were killed in the attack.
This came after Abadi said on Wednesday that security troops will follow ISIS militants in the whole region, not only in Iraq.
The strikes, according to the statement, were carried out “depending on orders from Haidar al-Abadi, who is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.”
The statement also added that the strikes “would help expedite the elimination of the ISIS in the region after it was conquered in Iraq.”
Meanwhile, an informed security source told AlSumaria News that the strikes “were carried out by the F16 jets that Iraq owns.”
Iraq is holding hundreds of foreign wives and children of Islamic State militants who were captured as Iraqi forces gradually seized back territories held by the extremist group since 2014. The government declared victory over ISIS last December, however, observers warn that the group still poses a security threat with sleeper cells.
Authorities say they are coordinating with other countries to extradite those held who are not convicted of terrorism.
Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against troops. Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country.
Abadi announced, in December, full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against ISIS members.
The war against ISIS has so far displaced at least five million people