Ministry of Defence
Update: air strikes against Daesh
The RAF are continuing to take the fight to Daesh in Syria.
- Tuesday 16 July – Typhoons destroyed a Daesh weapons stockpile in the deserts of western Iraq.
- Wednesday 17 July – Typhoons bombed a Daesh-held building in the Al Jazirah desert of northern Iraq.
Royal Air Force aircraft, alongside those from other coalition partners, have continued to fly daily patrols over Iraq and Syria following the liberation of the last Daesh-held territory by the Syrian Democratic Forces at Baghuz Fawqani in March. These missions provide reconnaissance information about any attempts by the terrorists to re-establish an operational presence in the region, and are able to strike any such activity that is detected. On Tuesday 16 July, two Typhoon FGR4s from RAF Akrotiri, supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker, were directed to a remote area of the desert in western Iraq, some 55 miles south-west of Ramadi, where a concealed terrorist stockpile of weapons had been identified. Our aircraft delivered an attack with a single Paveway IV guided bomb which scored a direct hit, destroying the stockpiled weaponry.
A further such mission in support of the Iraqi security forces was flown the following day. A group of terrorists had been identified at a building in the Al Jazirah desert in north-western Iraq, and a Typhoon flight was tasked to this location. As ever, our aircraft conducted a careful check of the surrounding area for any civilians who might have been placed at risk, then struck the Daesh-held building with Paveway IVs, destroying the building.
Although the liberation by the Syrian Democratic Forces of Baghuz Fawqani in March 2019 deprived Daesh of the last remaining territory held by them in Syria and Iraq, constant vigilance has been maintained to ensure that the terrorists are unable to regain a foothold. To this end, Royal Air Force and other coalition aircraft have flown daily missions to support partner forces on the ground. On Sunday 19 May, a pair of RAF Typhoon FGR4s, based at RAFAkrotiri, were tasked to assist the Iraqi security forces with the destruction of a tunnel wherein a group of Daesh were reported to have established themselves. Our aircraft carefully checked the area, in the hills to the south-west of Mosul, for any signs of civilian activity that could be placed at risk, before conducting a precision attack with a pair of Paveway IV guided bombs which successfully destroyed the entrance to the tunnel.
A further such attack in support of the Iraqi security forces was delivered by Typhoons on Thursday 13 June. A small group of Daesh terrorists had been tracked to an area of marshland some 27 miles south-west of Kirkuk. A single Paveway IV was released by our aircraft, and, despite the need to target them hidden in a thick bed of reeds, was reported to have successfully dealt with the terrorists.
A detachment of F-35B Lightnings from RAF Marham has been forward-based at RAF Akrotiri since late May to develop the capabilities of this formidable new, fifth generation combat aircraft. Since their training at Akrotiri had exceeded expectations, it was decided that, to validate and advance yet further this work, it would be appropriate for the Lightnings to undertake a limited number of operational sorties over Iraq and Syria alongside the Typhoons engaged in combatting Daesh on Operation Shader. The first RAFLightning operational sorties were therefore flown on Sunday 16 June – two aircraft conducted a patrol over Syria – and further such missions have subsequently been flown.
Details of previous airstrikes can be found here.
For more information see Daesh: UK government response page on GOV.UK
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