America's Reserved Air War Fewer Missions, More Hits against IS

The United States has conducted far fewer sorties in its battle against the terrorist group Islamic State in Syria and Iraq than in previous wars. Military officials claim one reason is a much higher air-strike hit ratio.

US fighter jets fly over northern Iraq after conducting air strikes in Syria.
AP

US fighter jets fly over northern Iraq after conducting air strikes in Syria.


Despite United States President Barack Obama's stated vow to "degrade and destroy" the Islamic State, the US and its allies are conducting markedly fewer air raids than one might expect, as shown by an analysis of the first 113 days of the air war. The military claims one of the reasons for this is a much higher hit ratio than in previous wars. Of the more than 1,000 strikes conducted so far, officials described only two as having been unsuccessful.


Average Daily Air Strikes by US and Allies in Syria and Iraq

United States Central Command press releases often bundle air strikes for up to a four-day period. In these instances, the daily average has been calculated. The statistics provided are for Iraq only between Aug. 9 and Sept. 21. Starting Sept. 22, the figures reflect air strikes in both Iraq and Syria.

Air Strikes in Iraq by Coalition Forces

Thus far, the United States' Western partners have conducted air strikes exclusively in Iraq. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Bahrain have operated only within Syria.

Overview of Air Strike Targets

The Pentagon states that several hundred jihadists have been killed just in those air strikes conducted to defend Kobani, Syria against Islamic State. So far, however, the US military has not provided any statistics about civilian casualties or those of allies struck in friendly fire.

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