December 25 was just another working day for the United States Air Force; which means addressing ISIS while Russia and the Syrian government pursue their own interests, which lately don’t involve ISIS.
So, on Christmas Day, there were 18 sorties run against ISIS targets (h/t Weasel Zippers, original reporting Business Insider), including 11 in or near Raqqa, the ISIS headquarters. Check out the special head gear–
A number of the F-16 pilots wore Santa hats on their missions. After this was observed by international watchdog group AirWars, the DoD acknowledged it with this picture (above). These are not photoshopped Santas. And while the hats might not be part of a typical regulation uniform, I’ve personally observed in my old service days a little leeway given when certain officers are playing Santa and delivering gifts while (otherwise) in uniform.
Given the thousands upon thousands of unspeakably atrocious acts perpetrated by ISIS in its years-long reign of terror in both Iraq and Syria: mass beheadings; rape-slaves; crucifixion of Christians; strict clothing and behavior rules enforced by execution, amputation, or enslavement; here’s hoping that our Air Force Santas delivered some very special gifts down ISIS chimneys. What a difference it makes whether you are on the naughty list or the nice list!
To all the Yazidis, Kurds, Christians, Muslims who are not terrorists or sharia nazis, and particularly to all the boys and girls, to the Peshmerga, the Mosul Underground Resistance and anybody else fighting back – we wish you a very Merry Christmas. Hang on, help is on the way. After January 20, it’ll be coming like the Fourth of July.
As a recent Reuters report quotes the commander of the main US unit on the ground in Iraq:
“We have always had opportunities to work side-by-side, but we have never been embedded to this degree … That was always a smaller niche mission. Well, this is our mission now and it is big and we are embedded inside their formations.”
Many civilians have found themselves in the cross-fire, especially in Iraq, where they have been caught between ISIS and Iraqi fighters on the ground as well as in the path of ongoing airstrikes.
In the 10 days before Christmas, Airwars documented reports — some of them contested — indicating that more than 50 civilians were killed by air and ground fire from coalition and Iraqi forces.
ISIS continues to menace civilians as well.
The terrorist group has fired on civilian areas of Mosul, including liberated sections of the city, and a Human Rights Watch report issued on Tuesday states that the terror group executed at least 13 people — including two boys — in villages south of Mosul where locals mounted an effort to expel the group’s fighters.
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