Coalition statistics show fight against ISIS continues
WASHINGTON DC (Kurdistan 24) – Statistics released on Tuesday by the Coalition against the so-called Islamic State, formally known as Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), suggest that the fight against the terrorist organization continues, even though it no longer controls territory.
The statistics also suggest there is significantly more combat against the Islamic State in Iraq than in Syria and that has been the case for the past year.
According to CJTF-OIR’s strike summary report for June 2020, the Coalition conducted 26 strikes that month, involving 89 engagements, against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
A strike, as defined by CJTF-OIR, “refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative effect in that location.”
Over 75 percent of Coalition strikes in June—20 to be exact—were in Iraq, with 78 engagements, while six strikes, with 11 engagements, were conducted in Syria.
In Iraq, 20 enemy fighters were killed, 10 caves, three camps, and 13 bed down locations were destroyed, while three terrain denial operations were conducted.
In Syria, two enemy fighters were killed in June, as five terrain denial operations were conducted.
The fighting was, generally, less intense the next month, in July. That month, the Coalition conducted 13 strikes, consisting of 29 engagements, with nearly 70 percemt—nine of those strikes—in Iraq.
The strikes in Iraq consisted of 25 engagements, in which 27 enemy fighters were killed, “three caves reduced, four caches destroyed, three logistics locations neutralized, and one camouflage position destroyed,” according to the Coalition strike report.
As in June, there was less fighting in Syria in July. The Coalition carried out four strikes in that country, consisting of four engagements, all of them terrain denial operations.
Comparison with 2019 Strike Summary Reports
Comparison with figures from the same months in 2019 suggest the Islamic State is less capable now of fighting as an organized force, but a significant level of conflict continues. And as in 2020, the fight against the Islamic State in June and July 2019 was significantly more intense in Iraq, than in Syria.
In July 2019, as the CJTF-OIR strike summary report explains, the Coalition “conducted 33 strikes, consisting of 60 engagements” against Islamic State targets in Iraq.
“CJTF-OIR engaged 101 Da’esh tactical units” in Iraq, the report continues, and it “destroyed 15 buildings, eight bed-down locations, seven tunnels, seven weapons caches, four vehicles, one improvised explosive device site, and completed one terrain denial mission.”
In the same month, in Syria, the Coalition “conducted one strike, consisting of five engagements against Da’esh targets,” in which it “engaged five Da’esh tactical units.”
The month before, in June 2019, the Coalition “conducted 13 strikes consisting of 27 engagements against Da’esh targets in Iraq,” the strike summary report for that month explains.
All of the Coalition strike activity in June 2019 occurred in Iraq, while none of it occurred in Syria.
In Iraq, the Coalition “engaged 49 Da’esh tactical units and destroyed seven tunnels, three buildings, three vehicles, two weapons caches, two caves, and one bed-down location,” the CJTF-OIR report explained.
CJTF-OIR’s strike summary reports show that the fight against the Islamic State is not over, but that fight has involved—and will continue to require—a commitment to keep fighting from the US-led Coalition.
This is a point regularly made by the Kurdistan Regional Government. It is a perspective, shared in significant respects, by the Iraqi government, which, in the second round of the Strategic Dialogue, sought to maintain key elements of the defense relationship with the US.
CJTF-OIR’s statistics also suggest that the so-called Islamic State is basically an Iraqi organization. That is where the terrorist organization remains most active.
Indeed, in 2015, the highly regarded news magazine, Der Spiegel, published a lengthy article, “Secret Files Reveal the Structure of Islamic State.” The report, based on captured documents, was a leak from German intelligence.
It explained that the Islamic State was founded by members of Iraq’s ousted regime, who took refuge in Syria, where they established the organization, as that country fell into civil war. They, rather than Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whom the US assassinated last October, ran the group. Al-Baghdadi, Der Spiegel explained, was merely the “religious face” of the group, which was really run by ruthless men seeking to regain the power and status they had lost, with the US-led war in Iraq.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany