A top Defense Department official acknowledged Monday that U.S. airstrikes in Iraq are unlikely to affect Islamic militants’ “overall capabilities” or their operations elsewhere in Iraq and Syria but rebuffed calls to expand the mission.
Lt. Gen. William Mayville Jr., director for operations with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described a stay-the-course approach during a briefing with reporters Monday afternoon. He spoke four days into a renewed U.S. airstrike campaign in northern Iraq meant to drive back militants with the Islamic State (IS), the group formerly known as ISIS.
Mayville said Air Force and Navy aircraft have conducted 15 “targeted strikes” to date and “helped check” IS advances around the cities of Sinjar and Irbil.
He said the strikes have “slowed” the group’s “operational tempo and temporarily disrupted their advances towards the province of Irbil.”. . .