Russian and US spending in Syria differs more than you might think
After four weeks of bombing in the country, Russia has so far spent considerably less than the US on operations in Syria. (AFP/File)
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It doesn't take a newshound to know that Russia and the US have become two of the most pivotal players in the Syrian conflict, but less talked about is how much that engagement's costing each of them.
It's been over a year since the US began targeting Daesh (ISIS) positions in the country and at least that long since train-and-equip programs have supported vetted rebel groups battling the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The cost has been huge.
The US State Department's May numbers showed $244 billion had been spent in Daesh-related operations in Syria and Iraq since the first US strikes hit Iraq on August 8, 2014. As a
terrifying interesting display from Vocative showed back then, broken down, that number comes out to about $9 million a day, $371,000 an hour, $6,000 a minute, or $103 per second.
Presumably, that's before factoring in the $500 million train-and-equip program for Syrian rebels approved by Congress earlier this year. And it's definitely not counting the 50 US special operations forces US President Barack Obama is set to send into the country.
A more recent count by Vocativ using Pentagon numbers showed the US now spends around $11 million a day on Daesh-related operations, with a total price tag of $4.75 billion since last August on Oct. 15.
So how does that differ from Russia? As it turns out, quite a bit.
A new report by Vocativ this week cited data collected from UK-based defense and intelligence firm IHS Jane’s which shows Russia spent around $120 million during the first four weeks of its bombing campaign in Syria. This includes air raids themselves, supply runs and the firing of more than two dozen cruise missiles into Syrian territory from the Caspian Sea early last month.
The total comes out to about $4.3 million a day—less than half as much as the US. Here's the breakdown. Via Vocativ.
Warships deployed in the Caspian Sea: $14,285
20 Helicopters: $60,000
Logistics, intelligence gathering, communications costs: $250,000
Ships in Mediterranean: $400,000
Military personnel: $440,000
36 warplanes: $842,400
Munition drops: $975,000
26 Cruise Missiles fired from Caspian Sea: $1.285 million
All this data is taken from just four weeks of bombings, so Russia still has plenty of time to catch up to the spending tally the US has run up over the last year. It's also important to note—the Pentagon's latest numbers reflect US operations in both Syria and Iraq, while Russia's tally is only in Syria. Moscow's numbers could climb if it begin operations in Iraq as well.
Plus, just like the US has supported various rebels groups over the last five years of the conflict, Moscow has supported Assad. So it's important to remember, a lot gets left out of official tallies—on both sides.
By Alisa Reznick
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