Belgium to Begin Airstrikes in Syria as part of US Led Coalition

Belgium to Begin Airstrikes in Syria as part of US Led Coalition

Sailors signal as an E-2C Hawkeye launches from the flight deck of aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the Arabian Gulf, April 13, 2016. The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is supporting Operation Inherent Resolve and other security efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ethan T. Miller

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WASHINGTON — Belgium will begin conducting airstrikes in Syria as part of the United States led air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, according to Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren.

Belgium F-16 fighter jets have already flown an estimated 796 sorties in Iraq but starting July 1 these strikes will extend into Syria. Belgium has also allocated approximately €400 million for counter-terrorism efforts for fiscal year 2016.

The United States is still the primary force behind the coalition, conducting 9,309 of the total 12,199 strikes conducted in Iraq and Syria, according to Department of Defense data.

Earlier this year the air campaign reached a grim milestone with estimates of civilian casualties reaching 1,000, according to watchdog group AirWars.

The 1,000 civilian casualty estimate by the AirWars researchers is 50 times greater than the number of civilian deaths the US led coalition has admitted to in it’s 18 month campaign against ISIL.

The United States is the only nation of the 12-nation coalition that has admitted to civilian casualties despite more than 12,000 coalition strikes and 44,402 bombs and missiles dropped.

As of March 31, 2016, the total cost of operations since August 8, 2014, is $7 billion and the average daily cost is $11.6 million, according to the DoD.

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