Arab and European Jets Combine for Just 10 Percent of Air Strikes Against ISIS

Arab and European Jets Combine for Just 10 Percent of Air Strikes Against ISIS

The US military has dominated the airstrike campaign against ISIS, having carried out nearly 90% of air strikes to date in Iraq and Syria, according to US defense officials. Arab and European coalition allies have carried out less than 200 of the nearly 2,000 air strikes so far.

The Telegraph reports that US warplanes have conducted 1,768 air strikes since August 8. Other coalition aircraft have carried out just 195 air raids against ISIS in the same period, reflecting totals through Sunday. Pentagon officials did not break down differences in areas or targets between American and coalition air strikes.

Officials also did not provide a breakdown between individual coalition partners of those 195 strikes. France, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Australia have each contributed at least some aircraft for the Iraq airstrikes.

The Arab states have not revealed the extent of their participation in coalition airstrikes in Syria. The countries so far participating are Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The US-provided numbers are the first indication of the low participation levels by the Arab states.

But the Western coalition governments see great symbolic value in having Arab Countries on board, even if their contribution is disproportionately small. They believe it is significant that Sunni Arab states are attacking the Sunni extremists of ISIS, even if the overwhelming workload in the air campaign has been carried by Americans. In addition, Pentagon officials insist that the role for Arab and European coalition partners is designed to expand with time.

US Central Command released additional statistics about the air campaign, which has been in operation since August 8 in Iraq and was extended into Syria on September 23.

US and coalition aircraft have flown more than 4,800 sorties in the air war. Those sorties include not just bombing runs, but more than 1,600 refueling missions by tankers and 700 surveillance flights.

US and coalition aircraft have dropped nearly 1,000 bombs in less than two months. That number includes 47 Tomahawk cruise missiles fired into Syria on the first day of operations there–at a cost of over one million dollars each. The total cost of munitions used so far is approximately $62.4 million.


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