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Central Command Updates Iraq-Syria Target Counts

By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, March 19, 2015 — U.S. Central Command officials released an update today on the number of targets hit by the United States and the international coalition in Iraq and Syria since Operation Inherent Resolve began, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters here today.

During a daily briefing, Warren said that through yesterday, the international coalition had struck 5,314 targets since operations began Aug. 8.

The coalition has conducted 2,893 airstrikes -- 1,631 in Iraq and 1,262 in Syria. Total U.S. airstrikes numbered 2,320 -- 1,151 in Iraq and 1,169 in Syria.

Warren said 2,875 U.S. forces were in Iraq as of yesterday.

Target Types

From the Centcom report, Warren highlighted some of the target types hit in Iraq and Syria.

In the target count as of yesterday, for example, coalition forces had hit 73 tanks, 282 Humvees, 408 staging areas, 736 buildings, more than 1,000 fighting positions and -- significantly, he said -- 87 oil collection points.

As of March 12, Warren said, the total cost of operations related to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, since kinetic operations began was $1.83 billion.

The average daily cost is $8.5 million, he added.

Events in Iraq and Syria

Also related to operations in Iraq and Syria, Warren discussed an ISIL drone destroyed near Fallujah yesterday and a remotely piloted aircraft downed in Syria on March 17.

On the ISIL drone, Warren said the department had assessed it to be a commercially available remotely piloted “model airplane,” and the sort of device that anyone could buy commercially.

“The drone was not shot down,” he said. “We observed it flying for about 20 minutes, we observed it land, we observed the enemy place the drone in the trunk of a car and we struck the car, destroying the vehicle and the model airplane,” and presumably killing the pilot.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time we have observed ISIL using this type of equipment,” Warren said, describing the drone as hand-held and small.

On the remotely piloted aircraft downed in Syria, Warren confirmed that at about 1:40 p.m. EST on March 17, U.S. military controllers lost contact with an unarmed U.S. MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft operating over northwestern Syria.

“We are looking into the incident and will provide more details when available,” he said.

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter @PellerinDoDNews)