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Update: air strikes against Daesh

25 July 2017

The RAF are continuing to take the fight to Daesh in Iraq and Syria.


- Wednesday 19 July – Tornados destroyed an explosives warehouse in northern Iraq, whilst Typhoons and Tornados struck a command post and defensive position in Raqqa.
- Thursday 20 July – Typhoons bombed a terrorist position in Raqqa; Tornados and Typhoons attacked terrorists on a Tigris island and destroyed their boat and vehicle transport.
- Friday 21 July – Tornados destroyed an observation and sniper post in Raqqa, whilst Tornados and Typhoons hit an anti-aircraft machine gun in the west of Iraq, and an armed truck in the north.
- Saturday 22 July – Tornados struck an engineering vehicle in northern Iraq.
- Sunday 23 July – Tornados and Typhoons attacked six Daesh positions in Raqqa.
- Monday 24 July – Tornados and Typhoons hit three positions in Raqqa.


In northern Iraq, intelligence had identified a warehouse near Hawijah in which large quantities of homemade explosives were being stored by Daesh. A flight of RAF Tornados attacked the building with two Paveway IV guided bombs, and demolished it on Wednesday 19 July. A mixed pair of one Tornado and one Typhoon meanwhile provided close air support to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting to clear the terrorists from Raqqa. A coalition surveillance aircraft identified a Daesh defensive position, and our aircraft conducted a successful attack with a Brimstone missile. A terrorist command post was also identified within the city, and this was struck with two Paveway IVs.

Operations over Raqqa continued on Thursday 20 July, when a Typhoon mission assisted SDF engaged in combat with a group of extremists firing from a building; this was hit with a single Paveway IV which eliminated the threat to the SDF. In northern Iraq, coalition surveillance aircraft had located a number of terrorists on a wooded island in the Tigris, several miles south of Qayyarah, along with their transport – a boat and two vehicles – on the riverbanks. Two Tornados bombed the terrorists on the island with a pair of Paveway IVs, whilst a mixed Tornado and Typhoon pair destroyed the boat and vehicles with Brimstone missiles.

On Friday 21 July, a pair of Tornados bombed the top of a grain silo in Raqqa, where a group of Daesh were stationed in a combined observation and sniper post. In western Iraq, a mixed Tornado and Typhoon pair used a Brimstone missile to eliminate an anti-aircraft machine gun that was concealed under cover, south-east of Rawah. Our aircraft then flew north-east to an area south of Qayyarah, where a coalition surveillance aircraft was keeping watch on a truck armed with a recoilless anti-tank gun. This was destroyed using a Brimstone.

The following day, a Tornado mission used a single Paveway IV to destroy an engineering vehicle which terrorists had attempted to conceal some miles north of Tall Afar. On Sunday and Monday, the RAF operations focused on supporting the SDF in Raqqa. On 23 July, three flights of Tornados and Typhoons conducted missions over the city, in which they delivered successful attacks on six Daesh positions, using Paveways IV bombs and Brimstone missiles. Three more Paveway IVs were dropped on 24 July, targeting a further three terrorist firing points.

UK contribution to the fight against Daesh

Map of UK forces committed to Operation Shader
Map of UK forces committed to Operation Shader

Campaign against Daesh

Map of Daesh losses and gains in Iraq and Syria since September 2014
Map of Daesh losses and gains in Iraq and Syria since September 2014

Previous update

Friday 2 June: A mixed Tornado and Typhoon pair used a Brimstone to destroy an armoured truck moving along a main road on the outskirts of Raqqa. Two other flights operated over Mosul, where attacks were delivered in very close support to the Iraqi forces, hitting eight Daesh positions with a mix of Brimstones and Paveway IVs. The targets included three machine-gun teams and three groups of terrorists armed with rocket-propelled grenades. In addition, a truck-bomb, concealed close to one of the positions, was also fortuitously detonated by one of the attacks.

Saturday 3 June: A Reaper, operating south of Al Qaim in western Iraq, observed a group of dismounted terrorists, with an armed truck close by. One Hellfire missile killed several of the terrorists, a second destroyed the vehicle with a direct hit. West of Kirkuk, a pair of Tornados used a Paveway IV to destroy a Daesh strongpoint, whilst two mixed pairs of Tornados and Typhoons delivered five attacks in Mosul with four Brimstones and a Paveway against a truck-bomb, three sniper teams and a group with rocket-propelled grenades.

Sunday 4 June: A further mixed pair conducted three further attacks in Mosul, using a Brimstone to deal with a sniper, and two Paveway IVs against a pair of Daesh-held buildings from which fire was being directed at Iraqi troops.

Monday 5 June: Two Typhoons, supporting Syrian Democratic Forces close to Raqqa, used a Paveway IV to strike a Daesh-held building in the east of the city itself. Tornados meanwhile continued operations over Mosul, and employed a pair of Brimstone missiles to deliver pinpoint attacks on two firing positions located in a large multi-storey building, where the terrorists had stationed a recoilless anti-tank gun and a machine-gun.

Wednesday 7 June: A Reaper remotely piloted aircraft flew an armed reconnaissance patrol over northern Raqqa. It observed two extremists burying booby-traps along routes into the city. Hellfire missiles were deployed, killing both. Some 45 miles south-west of Raqqa, a mixed pair of Tornado and Typhoon fast jets used a Brimstone missile to hit one Daesh-held building. A Paveway IV guided bomb left a second target on fire.

Friday 9 June: Tornados struck a Daesh position in eastern Raqqa.

Saturday 10 June: A Reaper intervened in a fire fight in western Raqqa between the SDF and a group of Daesh fighters. The Reaper hit the latter with a very effective Hellfire attack. The same day, Paveway-armed Typhoons struck two entrances to a network of tunnels built beneath a factory in the north-east of the city.

Sunday 11 June: A Tornado flight patrolled the Mosul area and conducted two attacks. During the first, a Paveway IV was used against a mortar position some 20 miles west of the city. A Brimstone was then used against a Daesh firing point in western Mosul, close to the riverbank. A second Tornado flight, and two pairs of Typhoons, operated the same day over Raqqa. Paveway IVs accounted for four sniper positions and a Daesh-held building, while a simultaneous attack with two Brimstones eliminated two firing points in a building on the western edge of the city.

Monday 12 June: Royal Air Force Tornados patrolled over west Mosul. Despite Iraqi forces being exceptionally close to a target, a Tornado was able to use a single Paveway IV guided bomb to destroy a Daesh strong-point. Our aircraft then headed south to an area in the countryside near the small town of Karwi. A truck-bomb workshop had been identified in an isolated building, with three of its deadly products parked some distance away. The three truck-bombs were dealt with first. An attack with a pair of Brimstone missiles scored direct hits on two of the vehicles, and the secondary explosions from one of these then set off the third truck-bomb. A Paveway IV was then used to demolish the workshop.

Wednesday 14 June: A mixed pair of a Tornado and a Typhoon provided further assistance to the Iraqi forces in west Mosul, striking two terrorist-held buildings with Paveway IVs. Before returning to base at RAF Akrotiri, the aircraft struck a third Daesh building, some 24 miles west of Kirkuk.

Thursday 15 June: Reaper remotely piloted aircraft conducted armed reconnaissance in eastern Syria, some 35 miles north-east of Dayr az Zawr, and used a Hellfire missile to destroy a terrorist truck. Two Typhoons also struck three Daesh positions in Raqqa in support of the offensive by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Elsewhere, two mixed pairs of Tornados and Typhoons operated over northern Iraq. A Daesh mortar was engaged east of Tal Afar, while six positions in Mosul, including machine-gun and sniper teams, were struck using a mixture of Paveway IVs and Brimstones.

Friday 16 June: Typhoons were again in action over Raqqa, when they bombed two further Daesh positions. Typhoons and Tornados, flying as mixed pairs, employed one Brimstone missile and four Paveway IVs to eliminate two machine-gun teams and three other Daesh strongpoints.

Saturday 17 June: Tornados and Typhoons suppressed a Daesh position in Raqqa, and struck six more positions in Mosul, again using a Brimstone and Paveway IV mix to deal with snipers and a machine-gun team.

Sunday 18 June: A Reaper patrolled over Raqqa. Its crew successfully spotted a Daesh mortar team and provided targeting assistance to a coalition air strike against them. The Reaper's crew then used Hellfire missiles to destroy a car-bomb and a second mortar team who were spotted in the act of firing at the SDF. The same day, Tornados and Typhoons were very active over Mosul. A Brimstone was used to target a group of terrorists engaged in a close-quarters firefight with Iraqi troops, while Paveways accounted for nine more targets, including two machine-gun teams, multiple snipers, and extremists armed with rocket-propelled grenades.

Monday 19 June: Flights of Royal Air Force Tornados and Typhoons operated over northern Iraq in support of the Iraqi security forces. Our aircraft conducted attacks in Mosul with Paveway IV guided bombs against six Daesh positions which the Iraqi forces had encountered, including a group of snipers and four machine-gun teams. Thirty miles west of Kirkuk, a Daesh weapons stockpile was also destroyed by a Paveway IV.

Wednesday 21 June: A pair of Typhoons assisted Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Raqqa. Two buildings held by extremist fighters were hit with Paveway IVs. In Mosul, a Tornado flight used a Brimstone missile to destroy safely a car-bomb spotted by the Iraqi ground forces. The Tornado flight then used a Paveway IV to eliminate a medium machine-gun team. A mixed Tornado and Typhoon pair were also active that day over the city. A Brimstone attack was directed at a mortar position, while Paveways were used against three Daesh strongpoints, including two housing machine-guns.

Thursday 22 June: Tornados and Typhoons conducted attacks with Paveway IVs against six Daesh targets in western Mosul, with some strikes being called in by Iraqi forces positioned extremely close to the terrorist locations. Four machine-gun teams were amongst the threats successfully dealt with by our aircraft. The next day, a mixed Tornado and Typhoon pair used two Paveway IVs to target successfully a large group of Daesh fighters operating with a truck-bomb and an armoured personnel carrier in Raqqa, while in Mosul a Tornado flight conducted three precision attacks with Brimstone missiles on sniper positions.

Saturday 24 June: In similar fashion, a pair of Paveway IV-armed Tornados eliminated a terrorist sniper team in Raqqa.

Sunday 25 June: Operations against groups of Daesh extremists outside of Raqqa and Mosul have also been maintained. Tornados attacked a headquarters and mortar position in eastern Syria, some 55 miles north-east of Dayr az Zawr.

Monday 26 June: Careful intelligence analysis allowed a building on the outskirts of Al Mayadin, in eastern Syria, to be identified as a truck-bomb workshop. A flight of Royal Air Force Tornados struck the target, scoring a direct hit with a Paveway IV guided bomb which left the building ablaze. Two mixed pairs of Tornados and Typhoons, supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker, meanwhile provided close air support to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) pushing into Raqqa and to the Iraqi troops clearing remaining Daesh positions in west Mosul. A Brimstone missile accounted for a sniper team in Raqqa, and a Paveway similarly dealt with snipers in Mosul.

Tuesday 27 June: Our aircraft conducted invaluable reconnaissance operations during.

Wednesday 28 June: Two Tornado flights operated over Raqqa. At the north-western end of the city, at least one suicide bomber was known to be waiting inside a Daesh-held building, waiting for an opportunity to attack the SDF as they closed in. The building and the terrorists inside were struck with a Paveway IV. A second such weapon demolished a building in the east, from where heavy fire had been directed at the SDF. This successful strike allowed the SDF to resume their advance.

Thursday 29 June: A flight of Typhoons used a Paveway IV to silence a sniper team which had been firing on the SDF in eastern Raqqa. The same day, a pair of Tornados conducted a simultaneous Paveway attack on a group of three buildings, all occupied by Daesh extremists, in the south-east of the city. Another Tornado pair meanwhile supported Iraqi troops clearing remaining Daesh positions in the Old City in west Mosul. Our aircraft used Paveway IVs to deliver two successful attacks on strongpoints, using great precision with their munitions, given the extreme proximity of the Iraqi troops to the Daesh firing points.

Friday 30 June: Royal Air Force Tornados and Typhoons provided close air support to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) pushing into Raqqa. The Typhoons worked closely with a coalition surveillance aircraft which had spotted a large truck-bomb. A direct hit from a Paveway IV removed the threat. A Tornado pair meanwhile bombed a Daesh-held building in the south-east of the city.

Saturday 1 July: A Reaper remotely piloted aircraft patrolled over Raqqa. A mortar was reported firing on the SDF, and the Reaper's crew spotted its muzzle flashes from a position concealed beneath a tree. A Hellfire missile destroyed the target. Typhoons were also active over the city, where they used a Paveway IV to silence a heavy machine-gun which was holding up an SDF advance. In northern Iraq, two Tornados assisted the Iraqi troops clearing remaining pockets of Daesh resistance in west Mosul. Paveway IVs were used to destroy two strongpoints from which the Daesh fighters were directing fire. The Tornados then responded to reports of a heavy machine-gun team and a group of suicide bombers preparing to attack the Iraqis – a third position was duly destroyed with a Paveway IV.

Sunday 2 July: Mixed pairs of Tornados and Typhoons operated over both Mosul and Raqqa. In Mosul, the Iraqi ground forces encountered three groups of snipers – all three positions, plus another Daesh-held building, were successfully struck with Paveways. In similar fashion, Paveway IVs were used against two terrorist firing points in Raqqa.

Monday 3 July: Two Royal Air Force Reaper remotely piloted aircraft conducted armed reconnaissance over Raqqa. One assisted Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who had come under attack from a heavy machine-gun on the top floor of a building. A Hellfire missile through the building's roof silenced the terrorist fire. The second Reaper used two Hellfires in a successful attack on a Daesh headquarters for foreign fighters. A mixed Tornado and Typhoon pair were also active over the city. The SDF, advancing into the centre of Raqqa, encountered a strongly defended building. Our aircraft demolished it with a single Paveway IV guided bomb. Two flights of Tornados operated over northern Iraq the same day. One flight used three Paveway IVs to destroy a group of three workshops producing truck-bombs near Hawijah. The second flight supported Iraqi troops in the Old City of Mosul, and conducted strikes with Paveways and Brimstone missiles on seven Daesh positions, including six machine-gun teams.

Wednesday 5 July: Typhoons continued to support the Iraqi troops in west Mosul. Exceptionally careful coordination was needed given the very short distances between the Iraqi forces and the Daesh positions, but the two Typhoons were able to destroy seven strongpoints, including two with medium machine-guns, each struck by a Paveway IV. Tornados kept watch over the latest SDF advances in Raqqa, and used a Paveway IV to deal with a sniper team.

Thursday 6 July: Two Royal Air Force Typhoons, armed with Paveway IV bombs, operated over Raqqa. Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) encountered a large building on the southern edge of the city, close to the bank of the Euphrates, which was heavily defended by Daesh extremists. Two Paveways struck the building and brought an end to the terrorists' activity. A mixed pair of a Typhoon and a Tornado were also active over Raqqa, and these aircraft bombed a sniper position which had been firing persistently at the SDF. A second mixed Tornado/Typhoon pair provided similar support to the Iraqi forces clearing the Old City in Mosul. Attacks with Brimstone missiles dealt with three Daesh positions, whilst a Paveway IV was used to destroy a medium machine-gun team.

Friday 7 July: Tornados flew further missions over Mosul, delivering two Paveway IV attacks which eliminated a sniper team and another group of terrorists firing on Iraqi troops. Further south in Iraq, a Daesh-held building had been identified in the countryside some 25 miles north-west of Bayji, with an armed truck hidden inside. Tornados demolished the building with a direct hit from a Paveway IV. Two more such weapons were used in attacks by Typhoons on a pair of defensive positions which the SDF had come up against in Raqqa.

Saturday 8 July: Typhoons conducted attacks with four Paveway IVs, eliminating a light machine-gun position and three other terrorist strongpoints. Tornados meanwhile continued to support the SDF in Raqqa, striking a Daesh position there.

Sunday 9 July: Typhoons hit a further target in Raqqa, whilst two mixed pairs of Tornados and Typhoons assisted the Iraqis as they fought at very close quarters in Mosul; our aircraft dealt with two snipers and two Daesh-held buildings. Prime Minister Abadi visited the city to mark its liberation.

Wednesday 12 July: A mixed Tornado and Typhoon provided support, and delivered successful attacks with Paveway IV guided bombs on three buildings from which terrorists had been attempting to prolong the fight. Over Raqqa, a second mixed Tornado and Typhoon pair flew overwatch as the Syrian Democratic Forces continued their advance through the city; our aircraft used Paveway IVs to engage three Daesh positions which opened fire on the SDF, and successfully silenced each threat in turn.

Thursday 13 July: Royal Air Force continued to support operations by the Iraqi security forces to eradicate any remaining Daesh fighters in Mosul. Two Tornados used a Paveway IV guided bomb to destroy a building occupied by extremists on the west bank of the Tigris, in the Old City of Mosul.

Friday 14 July: With Mosul largely liberated, the major focus for RAF missions has been to assist the Syrian Democratic Forces fighting in Raqqa. Two Typhoons used a Paveway IV to destroy the entrance to a tunnel dug beneath an area in the west of the city. The following day, Tornados and Typhoons utilised eleven Paveway IV bombs against mortar positions in Raqqa, whilst a pair of Tornados used a Brimstone missile against a sniper holding out in western Mosul.

Sunday 16 July: In the course of surveillance over Raqqa, a Reaper delivered a Hellfire missile attack which killed a small group of terrorists armed with rocket-propelled grenades, who had been firing on the Syrian Democratic Forces from a rooftop. Tornados and Typhoons were also very active over the city, and used a Brimstone missile to attack one terrorist firing point, and Paveway IVs to deal with three sniper teams and two other positions defended by Daesh extremists.

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