Supporting the Kurds and Free Syrian Army on the ground is essential to win against ISIL.
A year on from the start of the US-led coalition’s air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, many on the ground have told Al Jazeera that bombardment is not working.
Nineteen new air strikes were reported on Saturday, a year after US President Barack Obama announced that he had authorised targeted strikes against ISIL in Iraq, marking the start of the air war against the armed group.
The coalition, comprising the US, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the UAE, have since carried out nearly 6,000 air strikes in Iraq and Syria, at a cost of $3.2bn.
In Iraq, the focus has been on the ISIL-held cities of Mosul and Fallujah, as well as the contested city of Beiji – while in Syria, the focus has been on the ISIL strongholds of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.
Iraqi MP Jaber al-Jaberi said that, despite the intensive air campaign, ISIL had actually gained more territory over the past year.
“From the beginning we said the air campaign was not enough to fight ISIL. After one year they have made more gains,” Jaberi said.
Political analyst Ali al-Nashmi told Al Jazeera that many Iraqis have grown more distrustful than ever of their government’s alliance with the US.
“They think, the American side has a global policy and they want to use this war for their global policy,” Nashmi said.
Iraqi activist Fareeq Hadi expressed doubts about the coalition’s strategy of fighting ISIL.
“Throughout the year we haven’t seen any tangible results and it leaves us with a very big question mark about whether the coalition is serious about fighting ISIL on the ground or not,” Hadi said.
“We ask them to review their strategy in actually dealing seriously with Iraqi forces to help them fight ISIL.”