Military says air campaign against ISIL is most accurate ever

Nearly 35,000 precision-guided bombs have been dropped across Iraq and Syria.
Nearly 35,000 precision-guided bombs have been dropped across Iraq and Syria. | Contributed photo
U.S. Central Command is billing the coalition aerial assault against ISIL in Iraq and Syria as the most precise air campaign in world history.

At a Pentagon news briefing, Air Force Col. Pat Ryder said that nearly 35,000 precision-guided bombs have been dropped across Iraq and Syria since Operation Inherent Resolve began in August 2014. Of those, Ryder said there have only been a handful of confirmed civilian casualties.

“Since the beginning of the campaign we’ve received 120 allegations of civilian casualties, 87 of which were deemed not credible,” Ryder said. “We currently have 14 allegations which remain open, nine of which are pending credibility assessments and five pending investigation. We have closed 19 allegations.”

Ryder attributes that to the special effort coalition forces working alongside the United States have put into avoiding civilian casualties while still taking the fight to ISIL extremists.

“We take great care, from analysis of available intelligence to selection of the appropriate weapon, to meet mission requirements to minimize the risk of collateral damage, particularly any potential harm to civilians,” Ryder said.

The air campaign has been making a major dent in ISIL’s ability to conduct operations on the ground. Ryder said the air campaign’s effectiveness is allowing local Iraqi and Kurdish forces to make slow-yet-steady progress in the fight against the extremist forces.

“The coalition continues to support these indigenous forces through our advise and assist efforts as well as our air support,” Ryder said.

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