The U.S. military released an unprecedented number of bombs on the Islamic State in the first half of 2017, Air Force Times reported Tuesday.
The first half of 2017 saw nearly as many bombs dropped on the terrorist group than in the entire year 2015. The U.S. also a nearly 10 percent increase in the number of bombs dropped in the month of June 2017 from May 2017.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis has repeatedly emphasized the Trump administration’s focus on “annihilating” ISIS. “When Secretary Mattis looked at our anti-ISIS campaign, he concluded that in some instances we were essentially just pushing the enemy from one location to another,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford explained. “He asked me and the military chain-of-command to make a conscious effort not to allow ISIS fighters to just flee from one location to another, but rather to deliberately seek to ‘annihilate’ the enemy,” he continued.
Each month of 2017 has seen the number rise to higher levels than previously seen. The spike in weapons released on ISIS coincides with the U.S.-supported Iraqi Security Forces’ push on the city of Mosul, and the Syrian Democratic Force’s advance in Syria. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi declared victory Monday over ISIS in Mosul, marking the end of a nearly year long battle.
“Throughout June, precise coalition airstrikes were instrumental in helping Iraqi Security Forces squeeze ISIS holdouts into a one-square kilometer area of West Mosul’s old city by month’s end,” the Air Force said in a statement to AFT.
Strikes against the terrorist group aren’t likely to diminish any time soon. The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have only just begun their assault on ISIS’s capital of Raqqa. Early skirmishes indicate that ISIS is using the same tactics it used in Mosul, including waves of suicide bombers, civilian human shields and complete disregard for human life.
U.S. strikes Monday demonstrate the grueling fight ahead for the SDF including targeting “11 ISIS tactical units” and “eight fighting positions, two mortar systems, an IED, and an ISIS communications tower.”
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