AFP reports: US forces have carried out the overwhelming majority of airstrikes against Islamic State jihadists since August, with American warplanes conducting about 85 percent of the raids, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
Arab coalition partners have carried out 56 out of 393 airstrikes over Syria, and Western allies have conducted about 70 out of more than 470 bombing raids in Iraq, Col. Patrick Ryder, spokesman for US Central Command, told AFP.
President Barack Obama’s administration frequently touts the vital role of coalition partners in the air war, particularly four Arab states, but the numbers convey how the Americans are bearing most of the burden of the campaign.
Since launching airstrikes on Aug. 8 on IS jihadists in Iraq, and later extending it to Syria on Sept. 23, US forces and allied aircraft have carried out roughly 9,020 flights, including thousands of surveillance and refueling runs, according to the military’s latest tally.
The overwhelming majority of the intelligence and refueling flights also have been conducted by US aircraft, defense officials said.
After more than 800 airstrikes over about three months, US and coalition aircraft have unloaded about 2,400 bombs and missiles, defense officials said. [Continue reading…]