Enemy resistance is beginning to crumble. So said US Army Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland, who is overseeing the US airstrikes against Islamic State targets in the Middle East.
“Although it’s no measure of success and it’s difficult to confirm, we estimate that over the past 11 months we’ve killed about 25,000 enemy fighters. When you add that to the 20,000 estimated killed prior to our arrival, that’s 45,000 enemies taken off the battlefield,” MacFarland told reporters at a news briefing. “I only tell you this number to provide a sense to the scale of our support and perhaps explain why enemy resistance is beginning to crumble.”
As reported by Fox News, MacFarland said civilians and Islamic State administration officials have been forced into front-line combat jobs including manning checkpoints, making them a less capable and “diminished” force. “We don’t see them operating nearly as effectively as they have in the past, which makes them even easier targets for us so as a result they’re attrition has accelerated here of late.”
He said the coalition airstrike destroying hundreds of Islamic State vehicles escaping Fallujah last month was further evidence IS was not as capable as it used to be. “I don’t they would have made that mistake a year ago,” MacFarland said.
The US-led coalition has launched more than 14,000 airstrikes in the two-year war against IS. The first US airstrikes struck IS in Iraq on 8 August 2014.
In a separate report, The International Business Times note that more than 33,000 people have died at the hands of the Islamic State group and other organisations loyal to it between 2002 and 2015. This is according to calculations released on August 9 in a report by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland.
The researchers examined its Global Terrorism Database for attacks carried out by people or groups that came before IS, were loyal to IS, were inspired by IS or carried out by IS itself. They found about 30 organisations in all, including Boko Haram in West Africa, the Sinai Province in Egypt, Tehrik-e-Khilafat in Pakistan and the Bagsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement in the Philippines.
In all, the organisations were behind more than 4,900 incidents between 2002 and 2015. They killed more than 33,000 people, injured more than 41,000 and kidnapped more than 11,000 people. That’s about 26% of all deaths caused by terrorism in that 13-year span.