Two USAF F-22s fly over Syria on ?Feb. 2, 2018, while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. Air National Guard photo by SSgt. Colton Elliott.
The pace of US strikes inside Syria increased in the final two weeks of 2018, as the White House announced its intent to withdraw US forces from the country and administration officials claimed victory over ISIS.
Between Dec. 16 and Dec. 29, the US-led coalition conducted 469 strikes consisting of 1,001 engagements in Syria, according to a Friday coalition news release. This total was about double the pace of the previous weeks.
The Syria strikes engaged 666 ISIS tactical units, destroyed 291 fighting positions, 153 staging areas, and dozens of other targets.
In the same timeframe, the coalition conducted nine strikes in Iraq.
The coalition and partner forces are “exerting pressure on ISIS senior leaders and associates, as well as degrading, disrupting, and dismantling ISIS organizational structures throughout Iraq and Syria,” the coalition said.
In a Dec. 19 video, President Trump announced the plan to withdraw forces and said “we have won against ISIS.”
On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence repeated this view, saying on FOX News that, “We have defeated ISIS” and while the fight isn’t completely done, having US forces on the ground in Syria is not needed.