With the fighting against ISIS increasingly confined to densely populated cities like Mosul and Raqqa, the US air war against them continues to escalate precipitously, with record numbers of airstrikes in recent months, and the coalition dropping over 7,000 munitions on Iraq and Syria in just the last two months.
Air Force Central Command spokeswoman Capt. Kathleen Atanasoff attributed to the continued increase in strikes to the effort to support Iraq’s invasion of Mosul, a city of well over a million people. With the fighting there heavily confined to residential neighborhoods, however, the heavy use of airstrikes must raise concern of large civilian tolls.
January now stands as the record month for strikes in the current war, with some 3,600 US and coalition strikes taking place. The number in February was roughly equal at 3,440, with the difference attributable to there being less days in February.
Capt. Atanasoff wasn’t presenting this as a campaign at its peak, however, saying that as the military offensive on the ground moves forward, the US air campaign tends to increase, as the clearing of territory opens up new areas to US strikes in the effort to “hunt down and kill ISIS.” She added that the number of strikes in Afghanistan will also increase in Afghanistan, with the weather making it easier to carry out strikes.