US Central Command released new figures detailing airstrike targets in Operation Inherent Resolve, revealing a total of 5,314 individual targets, from fighting positions to weapons caches, have been struck since the campaign began in August 2014. The target list has expanded to 26 categories, from 17 listed in CENTCOM’s January report, with multiple categories added on types and purposes of buildings, weapons categories, as well as various oil infrastructure targets. The heaviest hit targets include fighting positions, with 1,003 struck as of March 18 (up from 673 in early January), and 689 “logistics buildings” (a category not included in the January report). Other heavily hit targets include 460 “technical vehicles”—civilian vehicles with crew served weapons mounted on them—up from 303 in January, as well as 547 “miscellaneous” vehicles (up from 394 in January). The artillery, anti-aircraft artillery, and mortar category has been split up in this report, which show 47 artillery pieces having been struck thus far, along with 99 mortars, and 48 AAA and air defense targets. Some 40 weapons caches have now been hit, up from 23 in the January report.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.