On New Year’s Day, a total of 29 U.S-led air strikes reportedly devastated ISIS positions, mainly in Raqqa and Kobane in Syria, where Kurdish Peshmerga and YPG forces have been involved in street battles with ISIS militants for months, as well as in Iraq.
As reported by the Guardian today, the city of Dayr az Zawr, which has a population of more than half a million people, was also rocked by numerous strikes.
The town of Mosul in Iraq, which is the location of the strategically important Fallujah dam as well as the town of Sinjar, were also hit hard by a combination of U.S. and Arab jet fighter pilots, from the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS.
The International Business Times also reported today that, in total, 17 bombs were dropped over Syria and another 12 over Iraq, though the exact split between the target cities has not been revealed for military purposes.
It hasn’t exactly been a “Merry Christmas” for ISIS in Iraq and Syria — not that they celebrate Christmas anyway — having enjoyed over 100 air strikes since Christmas Day. The militant group is hurting, and hurting badly, as the West, and even Muslim states, step-up to the reality of the situation they are facing.
Not only have towns like Raqqa and Kobane suffered the wrath of the U.S Air Force, strikes have also hit Al Asad, Al Qaim, Baiji, Kirkuk, and Tal Afar in Iraq.
In a timely visit to troops in the Damascus district of Jobar last night, Syrian dictator Bashar Al Assad went to deliver a New Year’s message. Syrian State TV showed Assad having dinner with soldiers and pro-government gunmen during the rare appearance.
Assad told his troops, “On New Year’s Eve families gather but you decided to be here to protect your country. I like to be with you on this occasion.”
The nostalgic and fatherly Assad visit came as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced that the death toll from the four-year civil war topped 76,000 in 2014 alone. Of the dead, an estimated 17,790 were civilians, including 3,501 children, making it the deadliest year of the civil war in Syria so far.