Key developments in the war against ISIS

AFP , Tuesday 17 Nov 2015

The main developments in the war against the jihadist Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq since August 2014:

 

On August 8, 2014, US jets strike ISIS positions in northern Iraq in response to an appeal from Baghdad, in the first American military operation in the country since troops withdrew in late 2011.

In September, US President Barack Obama vows to build "a broad, international coalition" to defeat ISIS. On September 23, the US and its Arab allies launch air strikes against IS in Syria.

 

On January 26, 2015, ISIS is driven out of the Syrian border town of Kobane after more than four months of fighting led by Kurdish forces backed by coalition air strikes.

 

On March 31, Baghdad announces the "liberation" of Tikrit, 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Baghdad.

But in May, ISIS takes Iraqi provincial capital Ramadi, and then Syria's famed ancient city of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

On June 16, Kurdish militia backed by Syrian rebel forces and coalition air strikes seize the key Syrian border town with Turkey of Tal Abyad from ISIS, which had occupied it for more than a year. Tal Abyad was one of two main transit points on a key supply route to de facto ISIS capital Raqa.

 

On July 24, Turkish warplanes bomb ISIS positions inside Syria and Kurdish militants in a dramatic tightening of Ankara's stance.

The Turkish raids are largely aimed at positions of the Kurdistan Workers Party in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey gives Washington the green light for US warplanes to fly operations over Syria from its key southeastern air base of Incirlik.

 

On September 27, France carries out its first air strikes against ISIS in Syria, after being part of the US-led coalition bombarding ISIS in Iraq since September 2014.

On September 30, Russia launches air strikes in Syria against "terrorists" seen as helping its ally the Damascus regime. Washington accuses Moscow of mainly targeting Syrian rebels.

On November 10 Syria's army breaks a more than year-long jihadist siege of a military air base in the north, its first major breakthrough since Russia's air campaign began.

 

On November 13, Iraqi Kurds announce the "liberation" of Sinjar from ISIS in an assault backed by US-led strikes that cut a key jihadist supply line with Syria.

Washington, which had announced on October 30 it was sending around 50 military advisers to Syria, says it has probably killed ISIS executioner "Jihadi John".

On November 14 Washington for the first time targets ISIS in Libya, killing its local chief, an Iraqi known as Abu Nabil.

 

On November 15, two days after the devastating terrorist attacks claimed by ISIS in Paris that killed 129 people, France bombs the ISIS stronghold of Raqa and intensifies its air strikes in Syria. Washington says it will intensify its efforts.

On November 17, Putin orders the Russian navy in the Mediterranean to work "as allies" with its French counterparts after President Francois Hollande said the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle would be deployed to the eastern Mediterranean.

Moscow also says Putin and Hollande have agreed to step up cooperation between their military and intelligence services in Syria after the attacks in Paris and the October 31 plane crash in Egypt that Russia says was caused by a bomb.

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