Following the capture of much of northern Iraq and eastern Syria by so-called Islamic State – and atrocities committed by the terror group against local populations – an international Coalition led by the United States began military actions against ISIS in August 2014, in partnership with local forces. An intense air and ground campaign over several years led to ISIS being driven out of almost all territory it had previously held – though this also resulted in significant destruction and loss of life.
The kinetic element of the Coalition presently comprises the US, the UK, France, and Belgium. Previous active belligerents include The Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan; along with occasional Iraqi strikes in Syria. While the Coalition described its campaign as ‘the most precise in history’, significant civilian casualties have been reported in both Iraq and Syria.