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Update: air strikes against Daesh

12 August 2016

British forces have continued to conduct air operations in the fight against Daesh

Latest update

- Monday 8 August – Typhoons bombed an artillery piece east of Mosul, while a Reaper destroyed a terrorist vehicle near Qayyarah.
- Tuesday 9 August – a Reaper continued to provide close air support near Qayyarah. Typhoons struck a further four Daesh targets in the Mosul area.
- Wednesday 10 August – a Reaper assisted Syrian democratic forces in close combat near Manbij. Typhoons attacked an armed truck in western Iraq.


In the past few days, Royal Air Force Tornados have conducted extensive reconnaissance missions over Syria and Iraq, while Typhoons and Reapers have delivered a series of strikes against Daesh positions in both countries.

A Reaper flew overwatch for Iraqi ground forces operating near Qayyarah in northern Iraq on Monday 8 August and used a Hellfire missile to destroy a terrorist vehicle as it was tracked at speed along an open road. To the east of Mosul, a light artillery piece had been identified, positioned within a building. This was successfully attacked by Typhoons with a Paveway IV guided bomb.

Typhoons were active over the same area the following day, conducting attacks with Paveway IVs which destroyed three Daesh-held buildings and a vehicle some 20 miles south-east of Mosul. The same day, a Reaper was again assigned to support Iraqi operations near Qayyarah. Its crew observed a Daesh team setting up a mortar and attacked with a Hellfire. It then used a second missile to destroy a mechanical excavator which was being used to help plant improvised explosive devices and tear up the carriageway of the main highway, in an attempt to hamper the Iraqi advance.

On Wednesday 10 August, a Reaper patrolled over Manbij, where Syrian democratic forces have cleared Daesh from much of the town. The Reaper intervened in close combat that developed just to the north of Manbij and successfully used Hellfires to clear two groups of extremists engaged in a fire fight with the Syrian moderates. Over Iraq, Typhoons bombed an armed truck concealed under trees some miles to the south-east of Hit. A number of secondary explosions followed as associated ammunition caught fire.

Previous air strikes

Tuesday 2 August: With Iraqi ground forces continuing their offensive to clear Daesh from the area around Qayyarah, a Royal Air Force Reaper provided close air support. The Reaper observed terrorists attempting to salvage a heavy machine-gun from a truck that had been hit by a previous coalition strike and successfully engaged them with a Hellfire missile. A second group of extremists were also attacked with another Hellfire. UK aircraft then provided targeting support that allowed a coalition fast jet to destroy a mortar team. Over Syria, a pair of Typhoons were similarly supporting the Syrian democratic forces as they fought to secure Manbij. A number of buildings on the south-western edge of the town had been fortified by Daesh as a major defensive position. These were successfully struck by the Typhoons, using eight Paveway IV guided bombs, despite the proximity of the moderate Syrian forces.

Wednesday 3 August: Tornados destroyed a Daesh mortar position while patrolling the north and west of Mosul.

Thursday 4 August: Tornados were again active over northern Iraq and conducted a Paveway IV attack on a machine-gun position in the hills to the north-west of Tall Afar. Meanwhile, Typhoons destroyed two Daesh-held buildings in western Iraq, while assisting Iraqi forces in the Euphrates Valley.

Sunday 7 August: Daesh were observed to be attempting to extract oil from one of the eastern Syrian oilfields which had been successfully targeted by previous coalition air strikes earlier this year. Two Tornados attacked a convoy of tankers north of Abu Kamal. Four Paveway IVs and four Brimstone missiles accounted for a number of vehicles, denying the terrorists the oil revenue they desperately seek. In northern Iraq, a Reaper and Typhoons were again supporting the Iraqi operations around Qayyarah. The Reaper conducted Hellfire attacks on a mortar team that was firing on the Iraqis and on a set of rocket rails. It then helped other coalition aircraft to successfully target an improvised armoured vehicle. The Typhoons also used three Paveway IVs to destroy three Daesh-held buildings.

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