Clashes on Thursday in the Yenkoujah district of Tuz Kharmatu, in the province of Salaheddin, between the capital Baghdad and Kirkuk have apparently left at least five Iraqi soldiers and armed Kurdish volunteers killed in action according to Al Jazeera. The same sources that Al Jazeera is citing also claim that seven ISIS soldiers were also killed.
Those deaths came north of Amerli where Kurdish and Shia volunteers dislodged ISIS fighters following US air strikes.
Did airstrikes get the #2 man?
While that may seem like good news, with ISIS it’s never that simple. IS abducted 50 men and confiscated 15 vehicles in the village of Tel Ali, which is part of the Sunni city of Hawijah on the same day and with these scumbags, they have either been raped and recruited or executed by now at the risk of overstatement.
But the interesting news of the day has Iraqiya TV, Iraq’s state-run channel, claiming that also killed was Abu Hajar al-Suri, a senior aide to the self-proclaimed IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an airstrike in Mosul. Specifically, an attack on the Technical Institute in Mosul.
Certainly, if the reports are true this would be good step in stemming the tide of ISIS as Abu Hajar al-Suri served as a general in Saddam Hussein’s army before the later was deposed.
How big is ISIS?
Even if ISIS’ number two was killed, ISIS will keep up their reign of terror everywhere they go and will not even be slowed by the unconfirmed reports. ISIS controls an area roughly the size of Great Britain at present and is not strapped for cash with some experts saying the “army” of roughly 10,000 militants are making nearly $1 million a day with kidnappings and oil sales. The group could be worth over $3.8 billion dollars today and countries all over the world no that ISIS won’t be limiting their attacks to Iraq and Syria with their goals and rhetoric.
While it’s “nice” to think progress was made against them today, it’s easier to be fearful of their reach both in the region and beyond.