The US is spending $8 million a day on a mission that has so far failed to bring the US-led coalition any closer to its goal of degrading and ultimately destroying the brutal Sunni group in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, Moscow’s limited military engagement in Syria costs far less (allegedly up to $4 million) and has proven to be far more successful.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Anne W. Patterson revealed the daily cost of America’s anti-ISIL campaign in Iraq and Syria during a hearing at the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. This figure, however, will not remain at this level for long.
Washington’s expenditures will likely increase since the White House decided to expand its military presence in Syria. On Friday, the Obama administration announced that approximately 50 special operations troops would arrive in Syria to “train, advise and assist” rebel forces fighting ISIL.
Although the White House pledged to keep the mission limited, many fear that Washington’s military presence in Syria will escalate. After all, Barack Obama repeatedly said that no US boots will be sent to the war-torn country. The new strategy is a U-turn on that promise.US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland provided the estimated cost of the Russian aerial campaign in Syria during the same Congressional hearing. The State Department appears to believe that Moscow is spending $2 million to $4 million each day on its assistance mission.
In addition, Moscow is said to be carrying out eight times more airstrikes daily than the US.
The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria since September 2014. The operation has not been authorized by Damascus. For its part, Russia launched its aerial campaign aimed at assisting the Syrian Army in its fight against radical groups in the country following a formal request from Bashar al-Assad.