The United Arab Emirates (UAE) suspended participation in coalition airstrikes in Syria against the Islamic State in December after a Jordanian pilot was shot down and captured, the New York Times reported Tuesday. The Defense Department, however, continues to include the UAE in its daily report on Operation Inherent Resolve airstrikes in spite of the lapse.
Jordanian pilot First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh was shot down and captured by the Islamic State the day before Christmas, and the Times reports that the UAE notified United States Central Command shortly thereafter that its flights were being suspended. A search of the Department of Defense website, however, reveals more than two dozen times that the defense department continued to report the UAE's participation in strikes, up to and including Wednesday, February 4 [emphasis added]:
Part of Operation Inherent Resolve
The strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, the region, and the wider international community. The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group's ability to project terror and conduct operations, officials said.
Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq include the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the United States, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
According to the Times report, the UAE is concerned that search-and-rescue efforts for downed pilots are not rigorous enough, and that country's participation in the airstrikes will not resume until improvements are made. The Islamic State released a video this week purporting to show the execution by burning of the Jordanian pilot.
The Defense Department did not immediately respond to an email inquiring about whether any other nations in the department's daily report have claimed to suspend strikes, or how long a nation would have to suspend strikes to be removed from the list.
UPDATE: Shortly after this article was published, the Defense Department responded by referring the question to U.S. Central Command. Shortly thereafter, Neysa N. Williams of U.S. Central Command responded, “In reference to UAE, that question is best addressed by the UAE. We have consistently deferred to our partners in characterizing their current operations.”