Operation Inherent Resolve
Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) is the U.S. military's operational name for the military intervention against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIL, in the vernacular, Daesh), including both the campaign in Iraq and the campaign in Syria. Since 21 August 2016, the U.S. Army's XVIII Airborne Corps has been responsible for Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR).
|Operation Inherent Resolve|
|Part of the Military intervention against ISIL, the Iraqi Civil War, the Syrian Civil War|
U.S. military F/A-18F Super Hornets of VFA-22 take off from USS Carl Vinson to support U.S. efforts for Operation Inherent Resolve in October 2014.
|Commanders and leaders|
Donald Trump (President, 2017–present)|
Barack Obama (President, 2014–2017)
James Mattis (Secretary of Defense, 2017 – present)
Ashton Carter (Secretary of Defense, 2015–2017)
Chuck Hagel (Secretary of Defense, 2014–2015)
General Joseph Votel (CENTCOM Commander, 2016 – present)
General Lloyd Austin (CENTCOM Commander, 2014–2016)
Lieutenant General Paul E. Funk II (Commanding General CJTF-OIR)
Major General Felix Gedney
(Deputy Commander-Strategy and Support CJTF-OIR)
Major General Dirk D. Smith
(Deputy Commander-Operations and Intelligence CJTF-OIR)
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (leader of ISIL)
Abu Khayr al-Masri † (al-Qaeda deputy leader)
Abu Yahia al-Hamawi (2015–2016)
Ali al-Omar (2016–present)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant:
|Casualties and losses|
6,365+ civilians killed by ISIL|
Between 6,321 and 9,712 civilians killed by Coalition airstrikes in Syria and Iraq (per Airwars)
Over 970,000 civilians in Iraq and Syria displaced, or fled to Turkey and other countries
Unlike their coalition partners, and unlike previous combat operations, no name was initially given to the conflict against ISIS by the U.S. government. The decision to keep the conflict nameless drew considerable media criticism.
The U.S. decided in October 2014 to name its military efforts against ISIS as "Operation Inherent Resolve"; the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) news release announcing the name noted that:
According to CENTCOM officials, the name INHERENT RESOLVE is intended to reflect the unwavering resolve and deep commitment of the U.S. and partner nations in the region and around the globe to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community. It also symbolizes the willingness and dedication of coalition members to work closely with our friends in the region and apply all available dimensions of national power necessary—diplomatic, informational, military, economic—to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.
The Defense Department announced at the end of October 2014 that troops operating in support of Operation Inherent Resolve after 15 June were eligible for the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. Service areas are: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as troops supporting the operation in the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea east of 25 degrees longitude. The medal is approved retroactively beginning 15 June, the Pentagon said.
By 4 December 2014, three U.S. service members had died from accidents or non-combat injuries.
On 22 October 2015, a U.S. Master Sergeant, Joshua L. Wheeler, was shot dead when he, with about 30 other U.S. special operations soldiers and a peshmerga unit, conducted a prison break near Hawija, in which about 70 hostages were rescued, five ISIS members were captured and "a number" were killed or wounded. The Kurdistan Regional Government said after the raid that none of the 15 prisoners it was intended to rescue were found.
As of 9 March 2016, nearly 11,000 airstrikes have been launched on ISIS (and occasionally Al-Nusra), killing over 27,000 fighters and striking over 22,000 targets, including 139 tanks, 371 Humvees, and 1,216 pieces of oil infrastructure. Approximately 80% of these airstrikes have been conducted by American forces, with the remaining 20% being launched by other members of the coalition, such as the United Kingdom and Australia. 7,268 strikes hit targets in Iraq, while 3,602 hit targets in Syria. On 12 June 2016, it was reported that 120 Islamic State leaders, commanders, propagandists, recruiters and other high-value individuals were killed so far this year.
- Until March 2016, U.S. military members were ineligible for Campaign Medals and other service decorations due to the continuing ambiguous nature of the continuing U.S. involvement in Iraq. However, on 30 March 2016, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the creation of a new medal, named "Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal".
On 16 June 2016, AV-8B II+ Harriers of the 13th MEU flying off the USS Boxer began airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria the first time the U.S. Navy has used ship-based aircraft from both the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf at the same time during Operation Inherent Resolve (aircraft from the USS Harry S. Truman began airstrikes on IS targets from the Mediterranean on 3 June).
As of 27 July 2016, U.S. and coalition partners conducted more than 14,000 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria: Nearly 11,000 of those strikes were from U.S. aircraft and the majority of the strikes (more than 9,000) were in Iraq. Of the 26,374 targets hit, nearly 8,000 were against ISIS fighting positions, while approximately 6,500 hit buildings; ISIS staging areas and oil infrastructure were each hit around 1,600 times. On 15 December 2016, the U.K. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said that "more than 25,000 Daesh fighters have now been killed," a number that is half of the United States' estimate. When asked about this discrepancy, the UK's Ministry of Defense said that it stood by his estimate.
Since the first U.S. airstrikes on ISIS targets in Iraq on 8 August 2014, over two years, the U.S. military has spent over $8.4 billion fighting ISIS.
The BBC reported in 2017 that according to the American think tank Council on Foreign Relations, in 2016 alone, the U.S. dropped 12,192 bombs in Syria and 12,095 in Iraq.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Coalition airstrikes have killed 7,043 people across Syria, of which: 5,768 dead were ISIL fighters, 304 Al-Nusra Front militants and other rebels, 90 government soldiers and 881 civilians. The air strikes occurred in the period between 22 September 2014 and 23 January 2017.
In March 2017, various media outlets reported that conventional forces from the 11th MEU, as well as special operations forces in the form of the 75th Ranger Regiment deployed to Syria to support U.S.-backed forces in liberating Raqqa from ISIS occupation. The deployment marks a new escalation in the U.S. war in Syria.
As of Feb. 28, 2017, the Coalition has conducted 3,271 sorties in 2017, 2,129 of which have resulted in at least one weapon released. In total, the coalition released 7,040 weapons in Iraq and Syria in this same time period in an effort to destroy ISIS.
As of August 9, 2017, the Coalition has conducted 13,331 strikes in Iraq, and 11,235 strikes in Syria, for a total of 24,566 strikes total in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
In February 2018, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division was awarded a campaign streamer following its deployment to Iraq. In May 2016, the brigade, deployed to advise and assist, train and equip Iraqi security forces to fight the Islamic State of Iraq. The 2nd Brigade also conducted precision surface-to-surface fires and supported a multitude of intelligence and logistical operations for coalition and Iraqi forces. They also provided base security throughout more than 12 areas of operations. The Brigade also aided in the clearance of ISIS from Fallujah, the near elimination of suicide attacks in Baghdad, and the introduction of improved tactics that liberated more than 100 towns and villages. The 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division also played a significant role in the liberation of Mosul.
U.S. and coalition forces are training Iraqi forces at four sites: in al-Asad in Anbar province, Erbil in the north, and Taji and Besmayah in the Baghdad area.
- 1st Infantry Division
- 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division (January – September 2015).
- 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
- 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (September 2015 – June 2016).
- 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) (June 2016 – January 2017).
- 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division (January 2017 – 2017)
According to Airwars, 1,472 civilians had been killed by the U.S. air campaign in Iraq and Syria in March 2017 alone. On March 17, a U.S.-led coalition airstrike in Mosul killed more than 200 civilians.
Data compiled by Airwars shows that 229 strikes in Iraq and 878 strikes in Syria were carried out by Coalition forces in June 2017, killing an alleged total of 1,483 people. The reporting of 875 of those total alleged deaths is contested.
In July 2017, an alleged 1,342 people were killed in Iraq and Syria by Coalition airstrikes. 812 of the allegations are contested, and 2 are disproved.
- Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, commander headquarters of ongoing operations
- Operation Shader, name for similar British operations
- Opération Chammal, name for similar French operations
- Operation Impact, name for similar Canadian operations
- Operation Okra, name for similar Australian operations
- Operation Martyr Yalçın, name for similar Turkish operation against ISIL
- Operation Tidal Wave II, name of a sub operation against ISIL oil infrastructure
- German intervention against ISIL, also named Operation Counter Daesh, related German operations
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- Global Coalition – Official Website
- Air Superiority Under 2000 Feet: Lessons From Waging Drone Warfare Against ISIL