US Central Command announced last week that it was involved in 43 operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria in the month of January. Task & Purpose reported the monthly average for US operations against ISIS in 2022 was 26 per month, signaling that the US military is stepping up its assaults against the terror group.
While ISIS no longer controls any territory, there are remnants of the group in remote regions of Syria and Iraq. CENTCOM said each raid in January was conducted with partner forces, the government in Iraq, and the Kurdish-led SDF in Syria.
“We rely heavily on the Syrian Democratic Forces for the fight against ISIS,” CENTCOM chief Gen. Michael Kurilla said. “Meanwhile, our Iraqi Security Forces have been aggressively taking the fight to ISIS in Iraq.”
The command said that in the operations in both countries, 11 suspected ISIS operatives were killed, and 227 were detained. CENTCOM did not offer any information about possible civilian casualties.
The Pentagon is notorious for undercounting or simply lying about civilian casualties. CENTCOM’s report for 2022 said 682 suspected ISIS fighters were killed that year and also did not mention the potential harm to civilians despite reports that children were killed in US-assisted operations, including in a major battle at a prison holding ISIS fighters and civilians.
While on paper, the US presence in Syria is about fighting ISIS, the occupation is part of the US economic campaign against Damascus. By backing the SDF and keeping about 1,000 troops in eastern Syria, the US is able to control about one-third of the country, an area where most of Syria’s oil resources are located. The US maintains crippling economic sanctions on Syria specifically to prevent the country’s reconstruction.