Iraqi warplanes are increasingly involved in their own airstrikes against ISIS targets within the metro Mosul area, with the defense ministry bragging of multiple strikes in the area over the weekend killing at least 38 ISIS fighters, destroying ISIS trucks and boats.
The biggest strikes were in Tal Afar, west of Mosul, where Iraqi airstrikes destroyed four vehicles, killing 21 people, who they identified as all terrorists. Strikes in Mosul itself destroyed six boats, and killed 17 more people, again claimed to be ISIS terrorists.
There was, of course, no way to confirm the accuracy of the death tolls, or the lack of reported civilian casualties. Still, it is noteworthy that Iraq is placing such an emphasis on their own airstrikes, after months of relying on the US to do the heavy lifting in their air campaign.
Iraq’s Air Force is relatively limited, and has at times been stalled as they have used their entire caches of Hellfire missiles and had to order more. In the past, Iraq’s reliance on US air support has provided them a scapegoat when ground offensives don’t go their way, often arguing the US should’ve done more. As the Iraqi Air Force does more itself, this may have less credibility in the future.