2015-12-03 The British Ministry of Defense announced today was that Britain joined into the aid of France and other allies to go after the ISIS safe haven in Syria.
Parliament provided voted last nite to support the action.
As Minister of Defence Michael Fallon commented this morning: “Daesch has never respected borders in the region.
The RAF is now free to attack Daesch on both sides of the border.”
According to the MoD website:
Following the vote in the House of Commons last night, Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 aircraft flew their first offensive operation against Daesh terrorist targets inside Syria.
The mainstay of Daesh’s financial income is derived from exploitation of a number of oilfields that they hold.
These are overwhelmingly located in Daesh’s heartlands in eastern Syria.
Several of these oilfields have already been effectively targeted by other coalition partners; RAF aircraft and precision weaponry are well suited to attacking, with low collateral risk, this type of target.
Overnight, RAF Tornado GR4s, supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker and a Reaper, and operating in conjunction with other coalition aircraft, employed Paveway IV guided bombs to conduct strikes against six targets within the extensive oilfield at Omar, 35 miles inside Syria’s eastern border with Iraq.
The Omar oilfield is one of the largest and most important to Daesh’s financial operations, and represents over 10% of their potential income from oil.
Carefully selected elements of the oilfield infrastructure were targeted, ensuring the strikes will have a significant impact on Daesh’s ability to extract the oil to fund their terrorism.
GR4 Tornado from XV(R) Squadron dropping the Paveway III laser-guided bomb, a highly capable weapon used against hardened and concealed targets. Notably, Paveway IV is one of the key weapons integrated onto the F-35B.
Coalition air operations have already degraded Daesh’s front-line military capabilities and have assisted the Iraqi ground forces in liberating some 30% of the territory that the terrorists initially seized in that country during the summer of 2014.
By extending RAF offensive operations into Syria, our aircraft are now able to help dismantle the means by which Daesh plan, direct and sustain their campaign of terror.
Before our aircrew conducted their attacks, as is normal they used the aircraft’s advanced sensors to confirm that no civilians were in the proximity of the targets, who might be placed at risk.
Our initial analysis of the operation indicates that the strikes were successful.
It is interesting to note that the Paveway enabled Tornados were supported by the Predator for targeting support and the new A330 tanker for tanker support.
Quite obviously, with the Russian presence in the airspace, some sort of arrangement must have been put in place to deconflict RAF operations.
And quite as obviously, the Cameron government decided to make this as public an event as possible to announce the new phase of borderless strikes.
Media were all over the RAF launching from Cyprus and returning from strikes to Syria.
Every major British newspaper had photos, videos, radio reports, etc. of this event.
The British government decided to engage in the next phase in ISIS with a clear public statement, including clearly identifying the threat from ISIS as both internal and external.
And would undoubtedly be linked to UK internal security efforts as well as the tightening of EU approaches as well.
While the President argued that we needed better intelligence to strike against ISIS, the British had the intelligence to strike them where it hurts, namely in their pocketbooks.
And note that the strike was launched the same day as the Russians were documenting the movement of oil into Turkey.
The strike was launched from RAF Akrotiri.
RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus is one of the British sovereign bases located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
It has played a key role in Operation Shader – the military intervention against IS in Iraq – with some 860 personnel involved in the mission, according to the MoD.
Its fighter bombers began attacking IS targets in Iraq in September last year, when MPs approved air strikes there.
The base’s hardware includes eight Tornado GR4s, a Voyager refuelling aircraft and unmanned Predator drones armed with Hellfire missiles. The GR4s carry a range of munitions including Paveway IV guided bombs and precision-guided Brimstone missiles.