Islamic State are under heavy pressure in both northern Iraq, where the Kurdish peshmerga continue to push them back, and in Anbar province, where Iraqi troops have isolated the ISIL forces inside Ramadi. RAF Tornado GR4 and Reaper aircraft have flown daily armed reconnaissance missions over both areas, as part of the coalition’s intensive air campaign, and have conducted precision attacks in close coordination with the Iraqi ground forces. A particular focus has been around Sinjar city, in preparation for a large Kurdish offensive which began on 12 November to drive ISIL from their remaining positions in the southern part of the town. ISIL positions in and around Sinjar have been methodically targeted by coalition aircraft ahead of the ground assault by the Kurdish security forces. As part of these preparations for the Kurdish attack, on Thursday 5 November, Tornado GR4s from RAF Akrotiri were able, despite bad weather, to use Paveway IV guided bombs against a pair of ISIL fortified positions near Sinjar; the Kurdish unit whom the GR4s were supporting confirmed that both terrorist positions had been destroyed.
The American assault ship will take part in exercises in the region.