OIR Official: Captured Info
Describes ISIL Operations in Manbij
By Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DOD
News) — July 27, 2016 — As the U.S.-led coalition and Syrian fighters
continue the battle to retake the city of Manbij in Syria, captured information
reveals the Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant’s thought processes and plans,
Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Army Col.
Christopher Garver told Pentagon reporters today.
In a teleconferenced news briefing from Baghdad, Garver said
coalition forces have recovered 4 terabytes -- about 10,000 pieces of
information, such as laptops, thumb drives, textbooks and notes -- from the
battlefield encircling Manbij.
Two F/A-18E Super Hornets undergo preliminary checks on the
flight deck of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower
Manbij has been important to ISIL because of its strategic location and activity,
and the coalition-gathered materials are yielding massive amounts of
intelligence that tell a lot about ISIL’s organization, the colonel said.
ISIL Fighter Staging Area
“[From] that material we're sifting through, we figured out
they ran several foreign fighter reception staging areas inside Manbij [where] a
foreign fighter would enter,” he said.
“They would screen them, figure out what languages they speak,
assign them a job and send them down into wherever they were going to go, be it
into Syria or Iraq,” the spokesman said.
Garver said he’s not surprised at the amount of ISIL activity
in the region. “It just goes to show how the self-proclaimed caliphate is not
like any other organization we’ve dealt with before,” he said.
The recovered textbooks offer more information than how ISIL
plans attacks, he said, noting that ISIL-rewritten textbooks contain high-end
math and science, and word problems rewritten into pro-ISIL language.
Rewritten Books Dictate ‘Caliphate’ Life
“These are textbooks on how to control the lives of everybody
that's inside it, how everyone should live their lives, and how if you don't
live your life that way, you're an enemy of the state -- of the so-called,
self-proclaimed state,” Garver said.
“They certainly were industrious in being able to put all
these aspects into their governance, but it gets back to why we have to defeat
them,” the colonel said.
“This is unlike any other organization that we've fought
before,” he said, “and with this sort of totalitarian attempt to control
everything, it poses a significant threat not just to the people inside, but
everybody that they want to expand out to, as well.”
Because most of the information is written in Arabic and
massive amount of documents exist, it will take time to sift through all of it,
Intel Find A ‘Big Deal’
The colonel said the massive information find is a big deal,
particularly because it reveals how ISIL ran Manbij as a strategic hub with
multiple reception centers.
“Anything that can connect us to external operations from
Syria is a benefit to everybody. It benefits the whole global coalition that is
working to counter ISIL's operations around the world,” he said.
And as coalition fighters enter Manbij, they are finding
ISIL-occupied homes rigged with homemade bombs, which Garver said might have
been an attempt to destroy the information that was kept inside, or a method to
kill coalition fighters, particularly as ISIL loses terrain.
Unlike other battles to retake cities, such as Fallujah in
Iraq, ISIL fighters are collapsing back into the center of Manbij as the fight
for it develops, he said.
“The enemy is fighting very hard,” Garver added. “They’re
putting snipers in minarets [and] mosques. They’ve got machine guns. They’ve got
[homemade bombs] all over the place … we’ve seen these tactics before.”
Related Links :
Special report: Operation Inherent Resolve
Operation Inherent Resolve