Since the US first began military operations against ISIS in 2014, it has carried out nearly 35,000 airstrikes against the terrorist group that once controlled huge swaths of Iraq and Syria.
However, while US President Donald Trump has declared victory over ISIS, the Pentagon is continuing operations against a “low-level insurgency.”
US Marine Corps Capt. Jose Uriarte, a spokesperson for the Combined Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), told Military Times on Wednesday the US and its allies carried out 34,917 airstrikes against ISIS between August 2014 and September 2020.
The air campaign was just one part of a massive effort involving the air and ground forces of several countries, including Iraq, Iran, Syria and Russia, as well as the militias of Kurdish forces and Hezbollah, to roll back the sprawling empire ISIS forces crafted out of the chaos of the Syrian Civil War - ironically, with help from the US and some of its allies, such as Saudi Arabia.
As early as February of 2019, US President Donald Trump had begun declaring victory, boasting the US “took over 100%” of Daesh’s territory. However, the claim was immediately refuted by US military leaders, and the operations continue, but on a much smaller scale.
In September, when the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz arrived in the Middle East, part of its mission included new airstrikes in Iraq. However, the warship’s main purpose is to take over as chief intimidator of Iran. Iraqi security forces have also recently launched ground operations aimed at killing or capturing ISIS militants, with one operation in Diyala Governorate concluding on Sunday.