Fighting from above: the air war on IS

An Iraqi boy looks on as people collect wood and metal at a site which was targeted by an airstrike in Qayyarah south of Mosul, on October 29, 2016The Iraqi security forces’ seemingly inexorable push toward Mosul saw fighting begin in the city itself this week, but it is the work taking place in the skies above that has enabled the dramatic advance. A relentless air operation using planes and drones from a dozen or so members of a US-led coalition against the Islamic State group over more than two years has conducted some 16,000 air strikes against the jihadists in Iraq and Syria — two-thirds of them in Iraq. “The operation in Mosul is the number one priority right now,” another US military official said.

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