U.S. airstrikes against ISIS are taking a heavy toll on that evil army of thugs. The U.S.-led coalition in Syria and Iraq has taken out more that 6,400 IS fighters in the last three months alone. And ISIS is looking worse for the wear.
In the past, ISIS was able to quickly replace their casualties with new bombing fodder, but as they have lost territory to Iraqi troops, they have a smaller area to conscript new fighters from. Defections are also on the rise, indicating a serious weakening of morale.
In a recent interview, top Coalition Commander Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland said, “We are noticing they are not quite the same skill level that they once were. Maybe they’re having trouble replacing quality with quality.”
Statistics provided by the military show that more than 25,000 ISIS fighters have been killed in airstrikes since the campaign started almost 18 months ago. The last three months have averaged just over 500 kills a week.
Iraqi Army ground operations force the militants out into the open when they engage in combat, making them especially vulnerable to airstrikes at that time.
In the December 2015 battle that seized the city of Ramadi from ISIS, airstrikes killed over 1,000 militant fighters in just one week.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain has criticized the air campaign, saying pilots are less effective in hitting targets, because U.S. air controllers who call in airstrikes aren’t allowed to operate on the ground. He wants to deploy American air-control teams with Iraqi forces to make the air campaign even more effective.
Michael Knights, an analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says casualty estimates are more accurate than in previous conflicts because surveillance aircraft can closely monitor targets after strikes.
And with all these statistics, we’re just talking about airstrikes here, mind you. These numbers don’t include ISIS members killed by the Iraqi Army or rebel groups on the ground.
Sign up to get alerts from Joe!