ISIS Still Replacing Fighters Killed in Strikes

US-led airstrikes have killed 2,500 enemy fighters across Iraq and Syria in December and coalition aircraft have increased the pace and intensity of strikes, a spokesman for the coalition said on Wednesday. Army Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said the strikes have shown ISIS “having to react” and change their movements around the battlefields in the region. However, despite all of the airstrikes, Warren said ISIS still has about the same number of fighters in its ranks that it did last year—between 20,000 and 30,000. The coalition on Wednesday released its latest list of airstrikes, with almost all of them happening in Iraq. Coalition aircraft and artillery conducted 19 strikes in Iraq, hitting several ISIS tactical units, vehicles, and fighting positions. At the same time, the coalition conducted just one strike in Syria, hitting an ISIS headquarters building near Raqqah. Much of the effort in Iraq has continued to focus on the oil infrastructure used by ISIS, in an operation called Tidal Wave II. Coalition aircraft in this operation have conducted 65 total strikes, including dropping hundreds of munitions on oil facilities in Iraq and Syria. Warren said this operation has reduced the overall oil revenue for ISIS by about 30 percent from 45,000 barrels per day to 34,000, he said. (Warren transcript.)