US increases strikes in Fallujah, takes “great care” to minimize civilian impact — General Brown

WASHINGTON, May 27 (KUNA) – The US military aircraft in the past week have increased the number of strikes in Iraq’s Fallujah in comparison to other areas in the campaign against the so-called Islamic State (IS), General Charles Brown Jr., commander of US Air Forces Central Command, said on Friday.
He stressed that “great care” is being taken to minimize the impact on civilians in Fallujah.
The actions are planned at a joint operation center in Iraq “to identify the particular targets we are going to strike dynamically in coordination with the Iraqis as the Iraqi forces move,” Brown said during a Defense Department teleconference briefing in Southwest Asia.
“From an operational standpoint … you do see positive momentum and movement into Fallujah as they execute,” he said.
Iraqi forces “need to move toward, and into the city,” Brown said, adding that they are flowing into Fallujah at different paces that vary among different sectors of the city.
“Our job there is to actually provide … air power to strike if they run into issues with Daesh (IS),” Brown said.
Military planners take “great care to minimize any type of civilian casualties,” he said, noting that observers have not seen any “great movement of civilians” out of Fallujah so far.
Asked how the Fallujah campaign was affecting plans for the campaign to also retake Mosul from IS, Brown said, “We try to keep a constant bit of pressure really across the entire area.” “And so we are striking in Mosul. Does it drop down a percentage point or two? Yeah, potentially. But it is not a major shift away because … we are able to range the entire battle space and strike in a number of different locations simultaneously on the same day, which allows us to be able to continue to put pressure on Daesh.” “We do not really strip everything away from one location to go with another,” he said. “We have the capability to cover both,” he concluded. (end) rm.msa

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