WASHINGTON — U.S. and coalition forces launched the most recent of 14 airstrikes two days ago as part of a year-long campaign to weaken and target Islamic State terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steven Warren said Wednesday.
Troops in Operation Inherent Resolve successfully targeted Mosul in Northern Iraq in what Warren, speaking via Skype from Baghdad, called Operation Dash Cash. He said the U.S. and coalition forces destroyed “tens of millions” in Islamic State cash by bombing 800 storage and nine distribution areas in Iraq.
The bombing will thwart ISIS, also known as ISIL, from funding fighters in the short term, “hitting them directly in the pocket”.
“There have been civilian deaths somewhere in the single digits in all the strikes combined. It is tragic … but that number is extraordinarily low,” Warren said.
Strikes so far in Syria and Iraq have killed 95 mid-level to senior leaders of the terrorist group in a battle of “savagery versus decency,” Warren said. Operation Dash Cash, coupled with continuing strikes at oil plants to slow ISIS profits, will have a cumulative effect to cripple the Islamic State, he said.
Warren asked for at least two more brigades in Mosul to keep the momentum going. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter also has called for more U.S. forces as well as fighters from 26 partner countries.
“There are no free rides here,” Warren said. “We absolutely need everyone to step up here and contribute as best as they can.”
ISIS recently destroyed a 1,400-year-old Christian monastery in Mosul, according to satellite images.
“The enemy has proved time and time again….its ruthlessness, barbarity and willingness to destroy everything including human life,” Warren said. “This absolute disregard for history, this meets the pattern that it has established.”