Newly-released data from the Department of Defense shows that at least 14 U.S. troops were wounded in combat operations under Operation Inherent Resolve since October 2016. Eight Americans have been killed in combat and another 23 have died in “non-hostile” events since the campaign began.
The data shows an alarming spike in American casualties and injuries. The 14 Americans who have been injured in recent months account for almost twice the number of Americans wounded since the battle against ISIS in Syria and Iraq began in August 2014. Andrew deGrandpre of Military Times reports the data shows that U.S. troops are being sent closer to the Islamic State’s front lines than they have in previous months.
Combat wounds are typically defined as wounds caused by small-arms fire, rockets, mortars, and other weaponry. The Pentagon does not release the specific service member injuries due to concerns of operational security and personal privacy for the soldiers.
U.S. military officials have downplayed the dangerous role of American troops in the region, claiming that they are mainly advising and assisting Iraqi and Kurdish troops that are doing battle on the front lines. December 2016 saw the highest number of injured American soldiers since March 2016, according to Pentagon data.
Members of the Marines Corps are the most wounded in the campaign. Fifteen Marines have suffered combat injuries while 11 soldiers, three sailors and one Airman have also been injured. There are currently approximately 5,000 American troops deployed to the area.