President Barack Obama authorized at least 26,171 bombs in seven countries in 2016—three per hour—in a wave of destruction which the far more successful Russian military has described as having a “less than zero” impact.
Russian chief of general staff Valery Gerasimov said that his country’s involvement in Syria since September 2015 had “changed the course of fighting terrorism,” and that his nation’s air force had carried out 71,000 strikes in Syria alone.
According to figures released in a new report by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the U.S. dropped 12,192 bombs in Syria during 2016, most of them using drones.
The CFR said that a further 12,095 U.S. bombs had been dropped in Iraq, 1,337 in Afghanistan, 496 in Libya, 34 in Yemen, 14 in Somalia, and 3 in Pakistan. The number of bombs dropped in 2016 was a 3,027 increase over the number dropped in 2015, the report added.
General Gerasimov said that more than 4,772 square miles, and 499 settlements have been liberated from terrorists since Russia’s Aerospace Forces’ campaign in Syria began. In addition, the Russian strikes had destroyed more than 200 “objects of infrastructure” under ISIS control, as well as 174 oil plants.
“This allowed us not only to breach the IS supply system, but also to deprive them of their main income,” General Gerasimov said.
He added that all airstrikes were conducted only after the intelligence had been verified by different sources, which included cosmic reconnaissance and data from unmanned aircraft.
At the same time, General Gerasimov said, the U.S.-led international coalition against terrorism failed to achieve significant results in Syria, and had instead just hiked casualty numbers among civilians and Syrian government forces—who were fighting the terrorists.
“They have not achieved any significant results… With that said, a significant number of casualties among civilians and government troops were registered,” he said.
He pointed out that a U.S. B052 bomber had killed at least 20 civilians in a strike on the Idlib province on January 3, 2017.
“As we remember, in September last year, the U.S. aviation carried out an attack in the Deir-ez-Zor targeting government forces. After this attack, Islamic State started its advance,” Gerasimov said.
“The latest example of this is the January 3 airstrike, when a B-52 bomber—without warning the Russian side—hit a target in the town of Sarmada, Idlib Province, which is covered by the cessation of hostilities agreement. Over 20 civilians died as a result of the airstrike.”
The U.S. air strike on a village in the Syrian province of Latakia was a “provocation by American war hawks who are not interested in cessation of hostilities in that country,” Sergei Zheleznyak, a member of the international committee of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house, told media.
“The United States’ bombing of the Syrian province of Idlib claimed the lives of innocent civilians instead of eliminating militants. Moreover, it delivered a blow on the ceasefire regime. It looks like a provocation of American war hawks who are not interested in putting an end to the warfare in Syria as they are making their fortunes on it,” Zheleznyak said.
“We and our allies in combating terrorism in Syria are exerting great effort to preserve the fragile truce in the war-weary country,” he continued.
“Our country is sparing no effort to protect civilians in Syria, to provide them with humanitarian assistance, to clear populated localities of mines and help people return to normal life. Any provocation can ruin the fragile truce and wreck the agreements between the Syrian government and the opposition that were reached though such great effort,” he said.
“Ignoring this fact means instigating a new spiral of armed confrontation and giving terrorist groups a chance to use the unstable situation in their destructive purposes.”