Strike Totals Rose in Last Days of ISIS’s Physical Caliphate in Syria

An airman piloting an F-15C Eagle prepares to receive fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 28th Expeditionary Aerial Refueling Squadron on May 12, 2019, at an undisclosed location. Air Force photo by SrA. Keifer Bowes.

The last month of ISIS’s self-proclaimed caliphate in Syria and Iraq ended with 900 airstrikes from US and coalition aircraft, an increase from the previous month as US-backed fighters routed the last town from the group.

Statistics for air operations in March, released May 24 by Air Forces Central Command, show US and coalition aircraft in the first three months of 2019 flew 706 sorties with at least one weapon released, and 3,998 total strike sorties.

While Syrian Democratic Forces in late March proclaimed victory over ISIS’s caliphate after clearing the last village in Syria, US and coalition officials have said thousands of ISIS fighters remain in the region.

During the same time period in Afghanistan, US aircraft conducted 673 airstrikes—more than double the February total of 327.

US aircraft in that theater have also flown 4,187 surveillance sorties and 2,760 airlift and airdrop sorties, dropping 60,420 pounds of supplies so far this year.