British airstrikes are believed to have killed more than 1,300 Islamic State fighters in a 12-month period, according to figures released by the Ministry of Defence.
The figures were released after a written parliamentary question from Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron:
“How many Daesh militants have been killed or wounded by British forces in Iraq?”
Mike Penning, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, said in response:
“During the period in question it is assessed that there were a total of 111 enemy wounded in action and a total of 1,306 enemy killed in action as a result of UK airstrikes. The UK cannot visit strike sites and conduct detailed investigations on the ground in Iraq.
Therefore the number of combatants killed and/or wounded is an estimated figure only.”
What is the current status of the air campaign?
In December 2016, it was reported that the Royal Air Force is operating at its most intense for 25 years in a single theatre of operation which far outstripped the UK involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan – RAF jets have dropped 11 times more bombs (1,276 strikes) on Syria and Iraq in the preceding 12 months than they had in the busiest year of action in Afghanistan a decade previously.
The cost of the operations against Islamic State and other details of the campaign were revealed in a briefing paper. In March 2015 the MoD confirmed that the net additional costs of the military air operation would be met from the Treasury Special Reserve; while the costs of training and equipping the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, and the provision of key enablers, would be met from the MOD’s Deployed Military Activity Pool (DMAP).
In answer to a parliamentary question in September 2016 the MoD set the costs of the operation, between August 2014 and the 31st of March 2016, at £265 million (£45 million in the 2014-15 financial year, and £220 million in the 2015-16 financial year).