The U.S. military has established a new command that will oversee operations in both Iraq and Syria, military officials said Friday.
Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve has taken charge of the mission in both countries. It is led by Army Lt. Gen. James L. Terry, the commanding general of U.S. Army Central. That organization oversees Army operations across the Middle East, including in Iraq.
Terry was expected to provide a briefing to the media on the changes on Friday morning at the Pentagon, but it was postponed as President Obama was announcing former deputy defense secretary Ashton B. Carter as his nominee to be the next secretary of defense around the same time. Terry is based in the Middle East, defense officials said, but they declined to say in which country. The United States has a military presence in the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Irbil, and in neighboring Kuwait.
The military has provided few details about the new task force, but said in a news release Friday that it will replace U.S. Central Command as the organization releasing information about the mission.
The United States has launched hundreds of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State in recent months. From Dec. 3 to Dec. 5, U.S. attack and bomber aircraft launched six airstrikes in Syria. The U.S., in conjunction with other countries, also launched 14 airstrikes in Iraq from Dec. 3 to Dec. 5 in Iraq, U.S. military officials said.