Syrian and Iraqi forces, aided by the air power of a U.S.-led coalition, have evicted Islamic State from more than 95 percent of the territory it held in the two countries, in combat that killed thousands of their fighters, according to U.S. Central Command.
The coalition has backed local forces on the ground with a total of 27,566 airstrikes in the three years from September 2014, according to the command’s statement. During this period, there were 1,266 reports of possible civilian casualties, it said, 194 of which were found to be “credible.” At least 786 civilians “have been unintentionally killed by coalition strikes since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve” with many reports still being assessed.
Islamic State is fighting its last major battle in Syria in eastern Deir Ezzor province. Iraqi forces launched an offensive this week to liberate the border town of al-Qaim, the final Islamic State stronghold in the country. A separate statement by U.S central command said about 1,500 militants are in the town’s immediate vicinity.