Dec. 3, 2015 —
SOUTHWEST ASIA (Dec. 3, 2015) — Royal Air Force Tornado aircraft, as part of operations against Daesh, have flown their first missions over Syria.
night parliament granted approval for the UK to extend their airstrikes
to include Syria, as well as Iraq, as part of counter-Daesh coalition
operations. Within hours, Royal Air Force Tornados flew their first
offensive operation on terrorist targets inside Syria.
by a Voyager air refuelling tanker and a Reaper, and operating in
conjunction with other coalition aircraft, the Tornados employed Paveway
IV guided bombs to conduct strikes against six targets on an oilfield
at Omar – one of the largest and most important oilfields to Daesh’s
financial operations, representing over 10% of their potential income.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
We have come to the aid of France and responded to the call of the
United Nations. This will take time but I am very pleased that a clear
and decisive majority was attained to target the group, which is a
menace to us here in the UK.
The terrorists depend for their
revenue on the control of oil. Cutting off their finances is extremely
important to degrading the terrorists, to undermining their campaign in
Iraq, and to shrink their operations in eastern Syria. It is there that
these terrorist attacks are being planned.
The UK has played a
crucial role in tackling Daesh to date but strike operations have been
restricted to Iraq. Britain has trained more than 2,000 troops,
contributed a third of surveillance flights to the Coalition and have
conducted more than 380 strikes on targets in Iraq. Yesterday’s vote
means that the RAF can now begin attacking the Daesh headquarters and
their finances and supply routes in Syria.
Britain has been asked
by Coalition partners to join operations in Syria as the UK can provide
high precision weapons which minimise the risk of civilian casualties
and collateral damage.
Tornado pilot and station commander at RAF Marham, Group Captain Richard Davies said:
In the hundreds of air strikes that the RAF has carried out in Iraq,
we have had absolutely no civilian casualties reported. The rules of
engagement that our crews apply both in the air and by commanders on the
ground mean that I am absolutely confident that that will continue to
be the case with operations in Syria.