U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says American troops withdrawing from Syria will go to western Iraq, where the U.S. military will continue to conduct operations against the Islamic State to prevent its resurgence.
Sources: Yahoo! News
Sources: Yahoo! News
United States President Barack Obama, at the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Saudi Arabia, says the United States will continue to deter and confront aggression against Gulf Arab states; joins others in warning the fragile cease-fire in Syria is on the verge of collapse; pledges vigilance about Iran's destabilizing activities in the Middle East; wants Gulf allies to offer more democratic reforms and improve human rights; and, says the U.S. and its Gulf partners should wait to see whether Iraq can resolve its political crisis before committing more financial aid which is impeding the fight against ISIL.
The United States Air Force deploys B-52 bombers to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar to join operations against ISIL in Syria and Iraq. This is the first time they have been stationed in the Middle East since the end of the Gulf War in 1991.
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford makes a proposal to President Barack Obama to increase the number of American troops in Iraq, so as to help the Iraqi Army with advisors closer to the front lines and to recapture Mosul, which fell to ISIL in June 2014.
A senior Iraqi intelligence official, who is also a Syrian activist leader, says Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant commander Omar al-Shishani (Omar the Chechen, real name Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili) died of wounds suffered in a March 4 U.S. airstrike near the Syrian town of Al-Shaddadah. The U.S. State Department offered up to $5 million for information on his whereabouts. Amaq news agency, which supports ISIL, says Shishani is neither dead nor hurt.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 26 civilians have been killed in suspected U.S.-led coalition airstrikes near the ISIL-controlled town of Al-Hawl in Syria's northeast Al-Hasakah Governorate. A U.S. military spokesman in Iraq said the reports would be investigated.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said, in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, the Obama Administration is preparing to establish a new Special Operations task force of about 200 service members in Iraq to intensify pressure on Islamic State commanders and expand U.S. troops’ direct involvement in battling the militant group. There are now about 3,500 U.S. troops in Iraq, including some Special Operations forces who are advising Iraqi forces in northern and central Iraq.
The U.S. deploys around a dozen A-10 ground-attack planes to Turkey's southern Incirlik Air Base. A U.S. military official said the deployment had "added capability" to the coalition's efforts against ISIL in Iraq and Syria.
Iranian state television says Revolutionary Guard brigadier general, Hossein Hamadani, has been killed on the outskirts of Syria's Aleppo by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants. This is the latest in a string of high-ranking Iranian commanders killed in Iraq and Syria in the last six months.