The war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has seen a huge uptick in the amount of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, which has increased by nearly 50 percent from recent years.
USA Today recently reported that 14,192 rockets, bombs and other munitions were used against the Islamic State in the first four months of 2017, compared to the 9,442 used in the first four months of 2016.
According to fighters on the ground, the airstrikes have been an overwhelming support.
Zagros Weaver, who fights alongside Kurdish forces seeking to take the de facto capital of ISIS in Raqqa, Syria, told American Military News that the fire power has seemed non-stop at times.
“The bombs came in every 15 minutes for 120 hours straight,” Weaver said. “There was a massive succession of thuds and booms that filled the days with death and the nights with fire. We would have had to face hell to reach our objectives without it.”
The increased airstrikes were the result of President Donald Trump allowing battlefield commanders to have much greater authority in deciding what weapons to use and when to use them, a luxury that the Armed Forces were denied under the Obama administration.
Previously, the process to use high-grade military firepower would have to follow a series of political channels and meet certain requirements before being used.
According to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, “[h]e [President Trump] delegated authority to the right level to aggressively and in a timely manner move against enemy vulnerabilities.”
The U.S. continues to provide close air support to Syrian and Kurdish ground forces as the battle rages to recapture the Syrian city of Raqqa, which has become the last stronghold of the Islamic State in Syria after the overwhelming success of Iraqi Security Forces in Mosul, Iraq.