Coalition Contributions to Countering the Islamic State

On September 10, 2014, President Obama announced the formation of a global coalition to “degrade and ultimately defeat” the Islamic State. Subsequently, 66 nations and partner organizations have agreed to participate, contributing either military forces or resources (or both) to the campaign. The military component of the counter-IS campaign is Operation Inherent Resolve, which has three primary elements: targeted special operations out of northern Iraq and northern Syria, airstrikes, and training and equipping of local forces. All of these activities are designed to empower Iraqis and Syrians to take on the Islamic State while minimizing the number of U.S. and coalition “boots on the ground.” Their respective contributions, as well as their disposition at training bases across Iraq, are outlined in this report.

For more information related to this topic, see CRS Report R43727, Train and Equip Program for Syria: Authorities, Funding, and Issues for Congress, by Christopher M. Blanchard and Amy Belasco; CRS Report RL33487, Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response, coordinated by Christopher M. Blanchard; CRS Insight IN10360, Russian Deployments in Syria Complicate U.S. Policy, by Carla E. Humud et al.; CRS Report R44000, Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations In Brief, by Jim Zanotti; and CRS Report R41368, Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations, by Jim Zanotti.

Coalition Contributions to Countering the Islamic State

Updated August 24, 2016 (R44135)

The Global Campaign to Counter the Islamic State1

On September 10, 2014, President Obama announced the formation of a global coalition to "degrade and ultimately defeat" the Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL/ISIS or the Arabic acronym Da'esh).2 Subsequently, over 60 nations and partner organizations agreed to participate, contributing either military forces or resources (or both) to the campaign. In Brussels in December 2014, 60 of these partners agreed to organize themselves along five "lines of effort,"3 (by contrast, the U.S. strategy involves nine lines of effort), with at least two countries in the lead for each:4

  • supporting military operations, capacity building, and training (led by the United States and Iraq);
  • stopping the flow of foreign terrorist fighters (led by The Netherlands and Turkey);
  • cutting off IS access to financing and funding (led by Italy, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States);
  • addressing associated humanitarian relief and crises (led by Germany and the United Arab Emirates); and
  • exposing IS' true nature (led by the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States).

According to the U.S. State Department, there are currently 66 participants in the coalition, including Afghanistan, Albania, the Arab League, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, the European Union, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.5

Each country is contributing to the coalition in a manner commensurate with its national interests and comparative advantage. Contributions include both military and non-military assistance, although reporting on non-military contributions tends to be sporadic, as many countries donate humanitarian assistance directly to local governments or non-governmental organizations operating on the ground. Still, some illustrative examples of the kinds of bilateral counter-IS assistance countries provided as the coalition was being formed in September 2014 include: Switzerland's donation of $9 million in aid to Iraq, Belgium's contribution of 13 tons of aid to Iraq generally, Italy's contribution of $2.5 million worth of weaponry (including machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and 1 million rounds of ammunition), and Japan's granting of $6 million in emergency aid to specifically help displaced people in Northern Iraq.6

Counter-IS Coalition Mandate

In terms of the legal basis for the coalition, several United Nations Security Council Resolutions—in particular, 2170, 2178 and 2199—call on UN member states to take a variety of steps (to include coalition activities such as countering terrorist financing, assisting with humanitarian relief, countering IS messaging and assisting with stabilization support), although these fall short of explicitly authorizing the use of military force against the Islamic State. Some coalition participants have cited the Iraqi Government's letter to the United Nations Security Council requesting defense assistance and stating that Iraq faces threats from IS safe havens in Syria as a further legal basis for participating in the military coalition. With respect to the U.S. contribution to the military campaign, some observers have argued that a new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) is required;7 the Obama Administration maintains that it already has the necessary legal basis to prosecute the campaign through the 2001 AUMF (P.L. 107-40), and the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (2002 AUMF; P.L. 107-243).8 Even so, U.S. Administration officials underscore that the military campaign is only one part of the overall effort to counter the Islamic State, asserting that success depends upon the ability to make progress in non-military areas.9

Military Aspects of the Coalition

Operation Inherent Resolve, the military component of the global coalition to defeat the Islamic State, began on August 8, 2014. Subsequently, according to U.S. Central Command and open source reporting, some 27 nations have joined the military component of the coalition. The current objectives of the coalition campaign are "destroying ISIL's parent tumor in Iraq and Syria, combating its worldwide spread, and protecting all homelands."10 Accordingly, the campaign currently has three primary military components: coordinated air strikes, training and equipping local security forces, and targeted special operations, some based out of Northern Iraq while others apparently dedicated to operations in Syria.11 The philosophy underpinning the campaign appears to be that fighting the Islamic State requires a long-term campaign for which Iraqis and their neighbors should take the lead; thus, in its view, U.S. and coalition forces should therefore focus on supporting Iraqis, Syrians, and others rather than taking on significant ground combat roles themselves.

According to the Department of Defense (DOD), as of June 28, 2016, the coalition conducted 13,470 airstrikes; 9099 of those in Iraq and the balance (4.71) in Syria.12 By May 31, 2016, 26,374 targets were destroyed.13 The United States has spent $7.5 billion on counter-IS military operations since August 8, 2014, with an average daily cost of $11.7 million.14 Figure 1 illustrates the average daily cost of operations according to DOD estimates, by month, since August 2015:

Figure 1. Operation Inherent Resolve: Average U.S. Daily Costs, by Month

Source: U.S. Department of Defense.

Note: In millions of dollars.

Towards the end of 2015, the campaign to counter the Islamic State experienced several notable setbacks. First, despite the expenditure of upwards of $500 million, the Department of Defense proved unable to field more than a "handful" of anti-IS troops in the Syrian battle space. Second, the Islamic State demonstrated a degree of strategic-level reach by inspiring (and in some cases coordinating) attacks in Western cities, notably Paris, Brussels, and San Bernardino, and expanding to other countries, including Libya.15 As a result of these and other developments, the Obama Administration determined it should alter its military campaign plan,16 shifting away from its "Iraq First" approach to sequencing the campaign and targeting the Islamic State more directly while "accelerating"17 its overall anti-IS operations.

Reflecting this decision, Secretary Carter announced that the United States would send an Expeditionary Targeting Force (ETF) of around 200 soldiers to the Iraqi theater. While the precise tasks of the ETF are classified, it is generally believed that it conducts raids and other operations, and collects intelligence.18 Carter also announced a 50% increase in DOD's budget request for operations and capabilities associated with countering the Islamic State, for a total of $7.5 billion. The request includes $1.8 billion to purchase 45,000 GPS-guided smart bombs and laser-guided rockets, as well as an investment in maintaining 4th generation fighter and attack jets, including the A-10.

In February of 2016, Secretary of Defense Carter expressed his frustration that military coalition partners were not doing enough to shoulder the military burden of countering the Islamic State.19 Shortly thereafter, Secretary Carter met with his counterparts from a number of the coalition contributing nations at NATO Headquarters in Brussels to generate additional contributions to the campaign and brief other nations on the United States' updated concept of operations for OIR. The latter was unanimously agreed upon. In terms of force generation, Secretary Carter noted, "[i]n sum, nearly 90 percent of the countries participating in the coalition's military campaign have stepped up to do more in the last months and days."20 According to public sources, contributions from coalition participants included extending air operations to Syria, training police, stabilizing, assisting in recovery, and providing more trainers, critical logistic support and materiel to local partners on the ground.21

On April 6, 2016, Pentagon officials stated that the coalition has "degraded the enemy's ability to move freely on the battlefield while regaining significant amounts of territory and degrading [IS] leadership and resources."22 In July 2016, that assessment was reaffirmed by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter at a meeting of contributors to the counter-IS military coalition. He noted that "play by play, town after town, from every direction and in every domain—our campaign has accelerated further, squeezing ISIL and rolling it back towards Raqqa and Mosul.... We're isolating those two cities and effectively setting the stage to collapse ISIL's control over them."23 Recognizing that the Islamic State may now be active in some parts of Libya, a statement by the group also noted that its members "stand ready to assist the Government of National Accord."24

On July 11, 2016, Ash Carter visited Baghdad and announced the deployment of a further 560 U.S. soldiers to Iraq, raising the total number of authorized U.S. forces in Iraq to 4,647.25


While the North Atlantic Treaty Organization itself is not a coalition member, many of its member states are active participants in the counter-IS military campaign. At the July 2016 Summit of Heads of State and Government in Warsaw, NATO reaffirmed its commitment to fighting terrorism and supporting the counter-IS coalition. The alliance agreed that its Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) would provide valuable support to coalition members, although those systems have not yet been deployed. The alliance further agreed to expand its current training mission for Iraqi officers, which is currently based in Jordan, into Iraq itself.26


Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on March 14, 2016, that Russia would begin withdrawing the "main part" of its forces in Syria.28 Observers subsequently noted that this did not indicate a full withdrawal from Syria. As some observers note, "what is happening on the ground is a drawdown of forces that were surged to Syria in the aftermath of the shootdown of a Russian Su-24 by Turkey in November 2015 and the intensified fighting over the winter."29 Russia has retained a number of its aircraft in Syria, its naval basing at Tartous, as well as its S-400 air defense system in Latakia. Russia initially built up its military presence at Latakia in September 2015 and launched an air campaign on September 30. Most recently, Russia has also reportedly launched airstrikes in Syria from Iranian territory.30

In part because of Moscow's long history and relationship with the Asad regime, Russia's strategic priorities in Syria appear to fundamentally differ from those of the U.S.-led counter-IS coalition, which has generally argued that Asad could not remain in power as a result of any settlement arrangements. These strategic differences manifested in Russia's military targeting priorities. Through mid-November 2015, Russia had largely struck what it referred to as "terrorist" elements opposed to the Asad regime, including—but not limited to—the Islamic State.31 In the summer of 2016, the Obama Administration reportedly proposed the establishment of a U.S.-Russia "Joint Implementation Group" in order to "enable expanded coordination between the United States and the Russian Federation beyond the established safety of flight procedures."32 While doing so might better enable campaign coordination between the United States and Russia, the proposal has already been faced with challenges, to include doubts from DOD and the Intelligence Community, Russian and Syrian tactical developments on the ground counter to the U.S.-led coalition's interests,33 and strategic concerns regarding the overall efficacy of more closely working with Russia.34


Since the summer of 2015, Turkey has allowed the United States and other members of the anti-IS coalition to use Turkish airspace and bases to conduct strikes on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Turkey has also periodically carried out its own air and artillery strikes in Syria against IS targets, including in response to apparent IS rocket attacks.

Conflict in Turkey's southeast and large-scale terrorist attacks since 2015 in Istanbul, Ankara, and elsewhere have increased official Turkish concerns about both the Islamic State and the Kurdish militant group PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). The PKK is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization with links to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD)/People's Protection Units (YPG). U.S. defense officials describe the YPG as one of the most effective anti-IS ground forces in Syria. In August 2016, U.S. and Turkish forces began a joint operation with some Syrian militias to clear IS fighters from the Syrian border town of Jarabulus, with likely implications for the YPG as well. For more information on Turkey-Kurdish dynamics that could affect coalition operations, see CRS Report R44513, Kurds in Iraq and Syria: U.S. Partners Against the Islamic State, coordinated by Jim Zanotti, and CRS Report R44000, Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations In Brief, by Jim Zanotti.

A July 2016 failed coup in Turkey has led to a massive government response aimed at reorganizing the command and personnel structure of the Turkish military, along with several other important official and unofficial institutions in Turkish society. Key Turkish commanders, including those with responsibility for the Syrian border and the Turkish presence at Incirlik air base (where most anti-IS coalition forces are based) were reportedly detained in connection with the coup plot. The sudden and significant changes have raised questions about Turkish military capabilities and morale, as well as about U.S./NATO-Turkey dynamics that could affect future coalition use of Turkish bases and other aspects of Turkey's participation in the anti-IS coalition. For more information, see CRS Report R44000, Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations In Brief, by Jim Zanotti.

Challenges to Coalition Coherence

Organizing and prosecuting a coalition campaign presents a variety of challenges in addition to the military task of defeating an opponent. In the first instance, without a single authority responsible for prioritizing and adjudicating between different multinational civilian and military lines of effort, various actors often work at cross-purposes without intending to do so. These coalition coordination challenges were demonstrated in recent military campaigns (particularly in Afghanistan). Exacerbating matters, other actors in the region—some of whom are coalition partners—have different, and often conflicting, longer-term regional geopolitical interests from those of the United States or other coalition members. This, in turn, may lead nations participating in the coalition to advance their goals and objectives in ways that might contradict each other. Finally, participants in the coalition have different tolerances for risk, and therefore will determine "rules of engagement" (ROE), or "caveats" that can constrain the ability of military commanders from employing military force as they see fit. While navigable, all these factors can make it considerably more difficult to consolidate gains and achieve campaign success.

This brief report offers several figures. The first is a map of the training and capacity building bases across Iraq, and key nations operating out of those bases as reported by U.S. Central Command and supplemented with open source reporting. The second is a table depicting participants in the military campaign, and what specifically each country is contributing in terms of military forces, according to open source data compiled by CRS and information provided by U.S. Central Command at the time of writing. This report update reflects significant changes regarding the coalition's composition up until August 16, 2016.

Figure 2. Country Participation at Training and Capacity Building Bases in Iraq

Source: Operation Inherent Resolve and open source Reporting, as of August 1, 2016.

Notes: This map differs from a comparable one published by OIR in two respects. First, the Canadian press reports Canadian Special Operations forces performing BPC/training missions out of Erbil. Second, the UK Ministry of Defence announced at the end of June 2016 that additional trainers will "soon" be deployed to Al Asad Air Base.

Table 1. Military Coalition Contributions to Countering the Islamic State






Approx. 380 personnel, including 80 special forces personnel advising Iraqi counterterrorist unitsa

Strike operations in Iraq and Syria; at least four F/A-18 Hornet fighters, a tanker aircraft, and an airborne control aircraft

Approx. 400 personnel in support of missions that include air-combat and air-combat support



Strike operations in Syria; unspecified number of aircraft



Approx. 35 personnel

Strike operations in Iraq; 6 F-16A/Bs based in Jordanb

Approx. 120 personnel in support of missions that include air-combat and air-combat support


Approx. 210 personnelc


Approx. 640 personnel in support of missions that include air-to-air refueling and aerial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR);1 CC-150 Polaris transport aircraft; 2 CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft remain in theater


Approx. 180 personnel

Strike operations in Iraq and Syria; 7 F-16s deployed to Incirlikd

Approx. 20 staff officers at coalition regional headquarters


Approx. 10 trainers




Approx. 100 personnele




Approx. 1,000 personnel

Strike operations in Iraq and Syria; 6 Dassault Rafale M multi-role fighters and 8 Dassault Mirage 2000D fighters; support aircraft that include 1 KC-135FR tanker, 1 E-3F AWACS on a rotational basis, and 1 Breguet Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft; and sea-based operations that include 1 La Fayette-class frigate. The Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group also supports counter-IS operations on a rotational basis, and is due to return to theater fall 2016.

Unspecified number of approx. 1,000 total personnel in theater in support of missions that include air-combat and air-combat support


Approx.150 personnel


Maximum of 1,200 personnel based in locations including Turkey, Qatar and Kuwait in support of missions that include air-to-air refueling and aerial ISR; additional platforms and systems including 6 Panavia Tornado ECR reconnaissance aircraft, 1 Airbus A310 MRTT tanker


Up to 150 personnel in Iraq authorized; currently deployed approx. 125 troops, chiefly providing force protection in Northern Iraq/KRGh


15 Iraqi Counter-IED NCOs training in Hungary in 'train the trainers' program; donations of ammunition and medium weaponry to the Iraqi Security Forces


Approx. 1500 personnel by September 2016.i


Approx. 260 personnel in support of missions that include air-to-air refueling and aerial ISR; additional platforms and systems including 4 AMX-ACOL (flying aerial ISR missions), 1 Boeing KC-767A, and 2 MQ-1 Predator UAVs


Training grounds

Strike operations in Iraq and Syria; unspecified number of aircraftj

Unspecified number of additional personnel in support of missions that include air-combat and air-combat support; Prince Hassan Airbase opened to coalition strike aircraft


10 trainers



New Zealand

Approx. 105 personnel deployed; 143 authorizedk


C-130 transport aircraft and associated support personnel


Approx. 150 personnel

Strike operations in Iraq and Syria; Dutch F-16s returned to the Netherlands for routine maintenance on July 1, 2016.l

Approx. 50 staff officers in theater


Approx. 150 personnel


Of the 150, an unspecified number of special operations forces to support operations in Syriam


Approx. 60 personneln


Approx. 150 personnel deployed to Kuwait along with 4 F-16Cs in an ISR role


Approx. 30 personnel




Training grounds


Provision of in-country basing, transport aircraft and overflight authorizations for U.S. forces

Saudi Arabia

Training facilities and basing

Strike operations in Syria; unspecified number of aircrafto





Tanker aircraft and headquarters personnel


Approx. 300 personnel




Approx. 35 trainersp




Training grounds

Strike operations in Syria and Iraq; unspecified number of aircraftr

Long-range artillery strikes in northern Iraq and Syria

United Arab Emirates

Unspecified number of personnel deployed in Syria.

Unspecified number of aircraft


United Kingdom

Approx. 400 personnel

Strike and surveillance operations in Iraq and Syria, including use of Tornado GR4 aircraft, Reaper UCAVs, Sentinel ISR aircraft, and Voyager refueling tankerss

The UK is taking the lead in designing a country-wide program for the coalition to provide training and equipment to counter the threat from improvised explosive devices.

United States

4,647 personnel authorized for Iraq; 300 personnel authorized for Syriat

Strike operations in Iraq and Syria; unspecified number of aircraft—largest contributor of material and personnel resources to the coalition

Also uses global capabilities and short term deployment of key enablers to meet operational requirements.

Sources: Department of Defense and open source reporting as of 1 August 2016.

Notes: Country personnel and material contributions are approximate due to rotations in and out of theater, and are subject to rapid fluctuations based on changing operational circumstances.

a. Australian Defence Force, "Global Operations: Operation OKRA," at Accessed March 10, 2016.

b. Belgian naval forces also participated in Task Force 50, sending one frigate to the Mediterranean from November 2015-February 2016.

c. Canadian Armed Forces, "Operation IMPACT," at Accessed August 1, 2016.

d. On April 19, 2016, the Danish Ministry of Defense received authorization from the Danish Parliament to re-deploy 7 F-16s for airstrike operations in Iraq and Syria, to deploy a C-130J transport aircraft, and add a new personnel contingent that would include approximately 60 special forces personnel to train and advise Iraqi Security Forces personnel. Approximately 170 personnel would be deployed in air-combat and air-transport roles. Danish airstrikes in Iraq resumed on 2 August 2016 (source: Forsvarsministereit). See also:

e. On February 26, 2016, the Finnish government announced that as of September 1, 2016, approximately 50 additional personnel would be deployed in support of existing training and advising missions in Northern Iraq, for a total of 100 trainers and military advisers.

f. Ministère de la Défense (France), "Operation Chammal 2016," at Accessed June 29, 2016. On July 13, 2016, President Hollande announced the redeployment of the Charles de Gaulle in the fall of 2016.

g. German Bundeswehr, "Syrien: Kampf gegen den IS" and "Irak: Ausbildung für den Kampf gegen den IS," at Accessed June 30, 2016.

h. Information on the Hungarian contribution to the counter-IS coalition was obtained through the Defense Attaché Office of Hungary, Washington, DC.

i. Italian Ministry of Defense, "Prima Parthica: Contributo nazionale," at Accessed March 11, 2016.

j. Open sources indicate that up to 20 Jordanian F-16 aircraft participated in airstrikes against ISIL carried out in in early 2015, but do not indicate approximate numbers of F-16s that may participate in regular Jordanian airstrikes against ISIL.


l. The parliamentary authorization for the Dutch air component lapsed on July 1, 2016. The Dutch air component's strike role is being carried on by 6 Belgian F-16s deployed to Jordan on June 27, 2016.

m. Information regarding Norwegian special operations forces (SOF) was collected from "Norway could send troops into Syria," Reuters, June 22, 2016. This article quotes a statement by Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide.


o. Saudi airstrikes have 'decreased rapidly' since September 2014. Saudi deployment of F-15s to Turkey was ostensibly to strike ISIS targets but in reality, few strike missions were carried out (IHS Jane's conflict monitor, accessed July 5, 2016)

p. In early 2015, the Swedish Parliament approved 35 trainers to be sent to Iraq, with an additional 85 personnel available if necessary for reinforcement or evacuation operations.

q. On or around December 3, 2015, Turkey deployed "hundreds" of personnel to northern Iraq as part of a "routine rotation" of its train-and-assist mission. The Iraqi Government disputed the legality of the deployment. While Turkey maintains that this action was undertaken with the "full knowledge" of the counter-ISIL coalition, this deployment appears to be a bilateral move independent of the U.S.-led military campaign. Open source reports from February 2016 indicate that Turkish personnel may still be conducting operations in the region. As of June 2016, Turkish aircraft were still striking PKK targets in Northern Iraq.

r. Based on a recent agreement struck between the United States and Turkey on July 23, 2015.

s. For additional information, see

t. For more information, see CRS Report R43612, The Islamic State and U.S. Policy. See also

Author Contact Information

Kathleen J. McInnis, Analyst in International Security ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])



For more information on the status of efforts to defeat the Islamic State, see CRS Report R43612, The Islamic State and U.S. Policy, by Christopher M. Blanchard and Carla E. Humud.


Testimony from Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, House Armed Services Committee, June 17, 2015.


Subsequent to the Brussels meeting, other nations joined the coalition. U.S. Department of State, "Joint statement issued by partners at the Counter-ISIL Coalition Meeting," December 3, 2014.


Remarks by General John Allen, then Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter-ISIL, Doha, Qatar, June 3, 2015.


U.S. Department of State, then Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL web page,


Sebastian Payne, "What the 60-plus members of the anti-Islamic State coalition are doing," The Washington Post, September 25, 2014.


See, for example, Richard Fontaine & Vance Serchuk, "Can We Finally Get An AUMF Right? As Congress debates the war authorization against Islamic State, it should learn from past mistakes" Politico, February 15, 2015; Paul Kane, "Congress Split Over Ways to Face the Islamic State," The Washington Post, February 22, 2015.


For more information, see CRS Report R43760, A New Authorization for Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State: Issues and Current Proposals, by Matthew C. Weed.


Jim Garamone, "Wormuth Stresses Whole-of-Government Approach to ISIL," DoD News, July 13, 2015.


Terri Moon Cronk, "Carter: Counter-ISIL Defense Ministers Unanimously Support Objectives," DOD News, February 11, 2016,


Barbara Starr, Army's Delta Force Begins to Target ISIS in Iraq,, February 29, 2016,


U.S. Department of Defense, "Operation Inherent Resolve: Targeted Operations against ISIL Terrorists,", accessed July 6, 2016.






Eric Schmitt, "Obama Is Pressed To Open Military Front Against ISIS In Libya," The New York Times, February 4, 2016.


Andrew Tilghman, "This Is The Pentagon's New Strategy To Fight ISIS," Military Times, January 14, 2016.


Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, "Remarks Previewing the FY 17 Defense Budget At The Economic Club of Washington," February 2, 2016.


Dan Lamothe, "The Fight Against The Islamic State Just Entered a New Phase – And It Could Grow Soon," Washington Post, January 20, 2016.


Aaron Mehta, "Carter Again Slams Anti-ISIS Partners on Lack of Assistance," Defense News, February 2, 2016,


Terri Moon Cronk, "Carter: Counter-ISIL Defense Ministers Unanmously Support Objectives," DOD News, February 11, 2016,




Terri Moon Cronk, "Counter-ISIL Campaign Shows Strong Progress, Admiral Says," DOD News, April 6, 2016,



U.S. Department of State Office of the Spokesperson, "Joint Statement by Foreign and Defense Ministers of the Expanded Small Group of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL/Daesh" July 21, 2016,


Austin Wright, "Obama Approves 560 More Troops to Iraq," Politico Pro Defense, July 11, 2016.


North Atlantic Treaty Organization, "NATO Secretary General Attends Meeting of Counter-ISIL Coalition," July 25, 2016,


For more information, see CRS Insight IN10360, Russian Deployments in Syria Complicate U.S. Policy, by Carla E. Humud et al.


Denis Dyomkin and Suleiman Al-Khalidi, "Putin Says Russians To Start Withdrawing From Syria, As Peace Talks Resume," Reuters, March 15, 2016.




Eric Cunningham and Karen DeYoung, "Strikes from Iranian Air Base Show Russia's Expanding Footprint in the Middle East," The Washington Post, August 16, 2016,


Michael Kofman, "The Russian Intervention in Syria: Policy Options and Exit Strategies" War on the Rocks, October 21, 2015.


Josh Rogin, "Obama's Syria Plan Teams Up American and Russian Forces," The Washington Post, July 13, 2016, See also:


Tom Miles and John Walcott, "Attempt at U.S.-Russia Cooperation in Syria Suffers Major Setbacks," Reuters, July 29, 2016,


Michael G. Waltz and Lorianne Woodrow Moss, "Five Reasons Why Cooperating with Moscow on Syria is a Bad Idea," War on the Rocks, July 19, 2016,


This section was authored by Jim Zanotti, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs.