Five months, 1,689 strikes, and more than 3,200 targets, the campaign against the Islamic State rumbles on. By Kedar Pavgi
This story has been updated.
It’s been five months since operations began in Iraq to protect the besieged Yazidi population on Mount Sinjar.
Since Aug. 8, U.S. and coalition forces have carried out 1,689 strikes in Iraq and Syria against more than 3,200 Islamic State targets (also known as ISIS, or ISIL). From the first day of strikes through Jan. 2, Operation Inherent Resolve has cost $1.2 billion, with an average daily cost of $8.2 million a day, according to the Pentagon.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., criticized the lack of congressional authorization for the use of military force. In a statement Thursday, he urged his colleagues to “finish what we started and not shy away” from passing a measure in the new congress.
“Additional delay not only sets a dangerous precedent for future conflicts, it dishonors the sacrifice of American servicemembers who are risking their lives in this mission,” Kaine said.
Though the coalition conducting military operations includes 11 other countries, the U.S. has conducted the vast majority of strikes. In Syria, U.S. forces have been responsible for 90 percent of the strikes, and 75 percent in Iraq.
The greatest number of strikes have been against ISIS buildings and fighting positions. Other military equipment has also been targeted in this operation, including 58 tanks and 14 boats.
The total number of U.S. troops in Iraq continues to gradually increase as trainers continue to stand up Iraqi Security Forces. As of Jan. 8, there are 2,197 troops in Iraq, including 300 at al Asad airbase in Anbar Province and 100 at Camp Taji. President Barack Obama has authorized the deployment of up to 3,100 troops.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said the U.S. is looking for ways to continue to help the Iraqi forces, including counter-IED measures and launching offensive attacks against ISIS, according to AP.
"We're working with Iraq's military and civilian leaders to determine the pace at which we will encourage them and enable them to do a counteroffensive," Dempsey said Thursday. "So when the government of Iraq finds itself ready not only to conduct the military operations necessary to recapture their territory, but also to follow it with the humanitarian and reconstruction efforts, then they will, with us, initiate some kind of broad counteroffensive."
Military officials have said the fight against the Islamic State could take years.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with the most recent figures on the cost of Operation Inherent Resolve.
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