tv Defense Department Briefing on Military Operations Against ISIS CSPAN December 11, 2015 12:07am-1:02am EST
on c-span's original series first ladies. influence an image, examining the public and private lives of women who filled the position of first lady. their influence on the presidency. sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. on american history tv, on c-span three. >> now an update on inherent result. the u.s. military campaign of air strikes against isis and iraq and syria. i'm a colonel steve born brief reporters for a satellite from baghdad. baghdad. this is just under one hour. >> good afternoon everyone. we are pleased today to be joined from baghdad by colonel steve warren, from operation resolve. steve we'll turn it over to. >> good afternoon.
and iraq read recently conducted strikes against three leaders and isil's financial and leadership network. their removal will do great isil's ability to command and control troops, it disrupts disrupts their ability to finance their efforts. late november we killed abu salade, he was the financial minister, he was the most senior and experienced member of isil's financial network. he was a legacy al qaeda member. he was the third member of the finance network. killing him and his predecessors exhausted knowledge until it needed to correlate funding within the organization. also in late november week
killed another one who is a senior leader of the extortion network. he was the third senior extortionist we killed recently. this is impairing isil's ability to extort money. another strike of its same timeframe we killed abu -- is an executive officer corps needed the transfer of information, people, and weapons. the strikes are example of how we are able to -- i want to update you on the tactical situation in iraq and syria. so i will direct you all to the romani map, i have three maps to show you. so we'll pull a map up so i can sit on the screen. this is a map that shows the
operation our area between romani, which which is in the upper left-hand corner of your map and to cod which is the very lower right-hand corner. you can only see the first few words in the lower right hand corner. the romani on the left that's outlined on the map. you see see in the center of the map a blue line running from the upper right to the lower left. that blue marks the line of troops of the eastern access. we have been attacking romani from all directions of the compass. north, south, east, west. the east, west. the eastern access sits right there on that blue line. that is primarily the eastern access is operating on that access.
so the next map is zoomed in picture of romani. i'll wait for the map to come up. there it is. this is romani, what is notable is the northbound in south. >> can you hear me? >> i'm sorry steve, we have a technical problem here is the monitor that i cause. if we could ask you to just start from the beginning with the maps as soon as we get a backup. the same problem i have. i'm sorry. i was trying to turn the monitor so tara could see it and i am plugged it. it was all my fault. we are trying to turn it back on. if if you would just hold for one second.
[inaudible conversation] we have you on a different screen now steve. if you can hear us, we have the satellite map of romani. >> will start with that map. that's kind of the big picture that you can see there. what that is is the operation area around romani. from the left you see romani proper. to the right you see to cottam. you cannot even see the whole thing you can only see the few few letters in the screen. just off the screen to the right
of course you have the lake to the bottom there and the rest of and bar province. the only notable mark i made on this map is the blue line that runs from upper right to lower left. about dead center in your screen, one third way from the right-hand edge of the map. that blue line marks the four line of troops of the eastern access. the eastern access is made up of federal pleased by the way. as we briefed, we are encircling , we are attacking romani from all four sides. north, south, east, west. it is the police that are moving along that eastern access where the police are. for a closer look at romani let's look at the next map.
here we have a close-up view of romani proper, northbound itself. east is to the right-hand side of the map and west is to the left. the major obstacle is the river which you can see forks right there in the center of your screen. what is notable about this. i'll point out a few landmarks. dead center of your map you see the glass and ceramics factory. where the river forks, just to the north of that fork you see the amber operation center. to give you a sense of scale, the center of the surrounding glass the factory are about
600-meter apart. about six football fields. so i just want to give you that view of the map. now i flip to to the last map which is going to show you what is under whose control. let's go to the last map. this shows you what has been accomplished over the last several days. other notable landmarks that are not on this map, the river where it exits the top of the screen just a little bit past where taxes the screen is the palestine bridge. that of course was our notable accomplishment last week. last week, the iraqi security forces pressed south from the palestine bridge following the river till two days ago managed to seize the amber operation center. to the south, what is most most
notable you can see the main highway that cuts across the southern portion of the map it looks like highway 11. to the right or the east of highway 11 you have a neighborhood. it's the largest neighborhood in ramada. and the iraq you security forces have seized it and they have secured it. we estimate there are no longer any enemy operating inside that neighborhood although they are continuing to reduce minds, obstacles, those type of things. in red is what the enemy still controls. i'm going to show you a video shortly and it will be a tank operating in the neighborhood. thus a neighborhood to the south. so that is a rollup of what romani looks like.
i expect to get questions about talk more about it. i don't want to spend to much time the opener here. i do want to say one thing. i sat down had breakfast with joe this morning and he said and he reminded me of something that i think is notable, hope you'll take note of. these recent successes of romani come nine years almost to the day, an army captain named travis, a major megan and the specialist vincent were killed by a roadside bomb. that's important because that's the heart and soul of driving force between the amber awakening the many ways. in fact, the reason i reason i bring it up that amber operation center which the iraqi fought so hard and so long to liberate,
was named travis' honor. then, colonel sean said this about travis and this is a quote. he grew to mythical-among the tribes. after he was killed and i talked to shakes, their eyes it would all brim with tears whenever you mentioned his name. so, i i want to remind people of that. we have been in iraq for a long time, we work hard. the colonel reminded me this morning that there was a photo of travis hung in that amber operation center. i don't know if it's still there, hopefully we'll find out soon. so before i move on to syria i want to share video of you. i will set it up. so before i roll just let me set it up briefly.
three so i'm sharing the video is it shows a significant, milestone and what we're doing here. this is overhead imagery of i iraqi tanks operating in the neighborhood. what is important about his two things. it will be hard to see, you'll see in the center of the screen after a few seconds you'll see a flash. that is a tank firing its main gun. a few minutes later seconds later you'll see another flash from the second tank firing. those tanks are shooting those guns and he also can't see it on the video but there's also machine-gun fire. they are operating there to protect and the bulldozers provided by the coalition to the iraqi forces. the bulldozers to the north up above where the tank is firing, you can see the armored bulldozers building up berm. it's pushing up earth and
selling off a piece of road with a high berm. the reason it's doing that is it prevents enemy truck bombs from attacking the iraqi security forces. this is significant because this is a true combined arms operation. the army that we trained back in 2000 was a really counter army. they have specific tax they did it was about checkpoints, provided security, convoys, it's about reducing the ability. what we are now is more conventional. or an enemy operating as a conventional army. so we spent the last several months training and equipping the iraqi army to fight this conventional enemy. so we are heartened to see iraq
[inaudible] [inaudible] >> moving to syria now. in in northern syria, the syrian democratic forces continue to liberate territory held by a cell. on on monday they liberated the villages of allcon and sue we. they are south of and they give a stronger foothold as they move toward should dottie. during the five-week campaign they have liberated nearly 1000 square kilometers and have coordinated with coalition forces for 142 sites. they estimate approximately 500
enemy and destroy 143 isil 43 isil fighting positions, 43 vehicles in one checkpoint. the cross iraq and syria we believe -- very often the commander makes frequent visits to iraq and it was here this week. i want to share with you some comments he made. these are direct quotes and you can use them as such. quote. from general austin. it is worth noting that every where we are supporting and enabling operations across iraq and syria, the indigenous forces are on the offensive, they are holding ground that has been retaken from the enemy. we are gaining momentum against isil, and i remain confident in our approach and confident that while it will take time, we will defeat them. "that was from general austin.
i also think it's such as north africa. we know that isil will follow the path of least resistance. as we continue to degrade their capability here in the stronghold of iraq and syria we have to expect and plan for them to try, to get footholds elsewhere. so with that, no more comments and i look for to taking your questions. >> will go to bob first. >> in connection with romani, given the proximity to falluja, i was just one of you can give us a snapshot of what is happening in falluja. >> 's isolation operations for
falluja are ongoing. there are several thousand iraqi security forces maneuvering to encircle falluja and begin the process of isolating it and eventually clearing it. we are in in the earlier stages of that. initially, as you know the mission was to block or prevent falluja from being able to reinforce isil fighters and romani. that has been successful. that is what the federal police are doing any sign that blue line on the map there. that indicated the forward line of advancement of the federal police. the blue line was roughly 4 kilometers away from the center of romani. falluja operations are in the earlier stages. >> to the iraqi forces that are operating in the falluja area,
are they mostly are partially american trained and equipped forces? >> they are not. there some american trained forces in that falluja police. a majority of them are operating in and around romani. >> i want to go back to your opening statement in regards to the three isil leaders who are killed. could you give us more details how they were killed, what kind of operation targeted them. also have you u.s. military tried to capture them for example? >> in this case, all three were
killed by airstrikes. because i was an air operation there was no possibility of capturing them. they took place in iraq in late november. >> also in iraq you mentioned something important, you said that isil is acting like a conventional army. could you give us more details? could could do know why that they are acting like a conventional army? do you believe that there some for my iraqi officers who are fighting with them? i would like to give more details on that if you can. >> we know their former iraqi officers who are fighting with them. to answer that part of the question.
the reason they're operating like a conventional army is because they have more traditional goals. their goal is to create a state, to create a caliphate if you will. that's a very conventional goal. they have to take and hold ground and have to govern the people inside that ground. that cannot be done with insurgency. an insurgency is different goals. it's to eject someone out of territory. in this case, their goal is to seize the ground and to do that requires conventional tactics. >> i'm told the british that is the army is arming the why pg forces, does the u.s. and doors part of being armed by the
what is notable compared to what we have killed from the air the security forces is a single one killed in action. with that close air support that you can provide. so i think that this is notable. >> with those devices -- isis fighters how can they hold the city as large as her body? >>. >> it is tricky work.
it is the way the urban added by rich is laid out with narrow roads, buildings that they have had zero long time to prepare the buildings lennart adjacent to move undetected. they will put it sheets up over the alleys to move down without being detected. and they will booby trap the city center said miguel a.. all of those things combined allow relatively small force to hold off substantially large portions. they have done this fairly well. they have stockpiled. it is their version of a mission.
forces but the terrain. and between isil and a clean "frontline" of troops with the pest rigo. event on the other side you are safe there is no threat of snipers or a ambushes' it is safe. the data is not the case here. if it is occupied they give it as a series of ink spots on the map. event is it very safe.
is there a good estimate for the civilians that remain behind? is there indications that isis is doing what they can to prevent their departure from the city center? >> we don't have a good estimate. that we worked on and tried but it is the hard numbers with that resolution. use either actively prevent teen civilians and are firing on them. of boy was shot in the stomach as they were trying
that isn't a part of a coalition operation. so are you telling them? >> i will not get into a level of detail part of our agreement that we have enough information. >> you said at the end of the opening statement to put more pressure on isis and syria we should see them try to salute does this mean we shouldn't -- expect more terrorist attacks?
is there anything that will reduce that threat? >> we are killing terrorists every single day by the hundreds. i will talk about what we're doing here. leadership networks. it is killing terrorists. that is the business we iran. >> to follow-up on the question do you have a regularity so to call in airstrikes.
period. >> if there is in the other coalition aircraft in that vicinity even before or after the airstrike? correct? >> there were no coalition aircraft before or after the initial reports came out that the soldiers were killed but after those reports came out it conducted a strike south and east of where the soldiers died. >> thank you
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[applause] >> it's my honor to introduce senator cruz and senator cruz did say he'd be available to take some questions at the end of his remarks so what we will do is when he's finished he will come back up if you have a rate rate -- question measure hand and i will recognize you and do >> raise your hand wait for the microphone and state your name and affiliation. senator ted cruz from the great state of texas serves of science of transportation committee armed services the committee on rules before being elected to the united states senate receiving claims as the solicitor general and served as the nation's biggest