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Update: air strikes against Daesh

14 November 2017

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


Thursday 9 November - Tornados destroyed a Daesh vehicle and stockpiled supplies in western Iraq.

Saturday 11 November – Typhoons bombed three IEDs emplaced alongside roads in northern Iraq.

Sunday 12 November – a Reaper destroyed a truck-bomb in eastern Syria.


Royal Air Force aircraft have continued to fly extensive armed reconnaissance patrols across Iraq and Syria to identify remaining Daesh positions and support the Iraqi troops and the Syrian Democratic Forces in their respective ground operations. On Thursday 9 November, two Tornados used a Brimstone missile and two Paveway IVs to destroy a terrorist vehicle and stockpiled supplies in the deserts of western Iraq.

A pair of Typhoons patrolled over northern Iraq on Saturday 11 November. Three improvised explosive devices had been identified, dug into embankments alongside roads around twenty miles north-west of Bayji, and the Typhoons were tasked with the safe destruction of these deadly booby-traps. Each was hit in turn with a Paveway IV. The following day, a Reaper remotely piloted aircraft operating over eastern Syria similarly disposed of another booby-trap left behind by the terrorists – an armoured truck-bomb parked on the edge of a road some twenty miles south-east of Al Mayadin. This was struck by a GBU-12 guided bomb and destroyed.

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

Monday 25 September: A Royal Air Force Reaper remotely piloted aircraft patrolled some miles to the north-east of Dayr az Zawr in Syria Its crew tracked two terrorists and conducted a successful attack with a Hellfire missile, then struck a Daesh-held building with a GBU-12 guided bomb. A second Hellfire was employed against a group of terrorists on foot, and a third destroyed a truck carrying more extremists. Two Typhoons flew a mission in the same area and, assisted by the Reaper, delivered an attack with a Paveway IV guided bomb on a position from which rocket-propelled grenades had been fired.

Wednesday 27 September: A Reaper continued operations north-east of Dayr az Zawr, where it used a pair of Hellfires against a dispersed group of terrorists armed with rocket-propelled grenades. In Iraq, Tornados and Typhoons responded to reports of Daesh activity several miles south-east of Ramadi. Two groups of terrorists on foot were hit with Paveway IVs, as was a further group manning a trench. A convoy of trucks carrying a large number of terrorists had also been spotted, and our aircraft tracked down and attacked five of these vehicles using a combination of Paveways and Brimstone missiles.

Thursday 28 September: North-east of Dayr az Zawr, a Reaper delivered three attacks: Hellfire missiles hit a sniper team and another group of terrorists, whilst a GBU-12 was used to demolish a Daesh-held building. In northern Iraq, Tornados conducted a simultaneous attack with a Paveway IV and a Brimstone on a local terrorist command group who had been identified south of Kirkuk.

Friday 29 September: Tornados and Typhoons flew further missions south of Kirkuk when they hit a number of terrorists concealed in woodland, two entrenched positions, and a Daesh-held building. Our aircraft also used a single Paveway IV to destroy a small headquarters located in the hills to the north-east of Tikrit.

Saturday 30 September: Two Tornados, armed with Paveway IVs, destroyed a truck-bomb factory located on the southern bank of the Euphrates in western Iraq.

Monday 2 October: With Syrian Democratic Forces continuing to fight Daesh to the north-east of Dayr az Zawr, a Royal Air Force Reaper remotely piloted aircraft flew overwatch. An SDF unit reported being engaged in close combat with several terrorists, and the Reaper's crew intervened, successfully targeting the extremists with a Hellfire missile attack.

Wednesday 4 October: A flight of Typhoons supported Iraqi forces as they advanced to liberate Hawijah. Our aircraft used Paveway IV guided bombs to remove two threats which the Iraqi troops encountered: a terrorist mortar team, and a truck-bomb which was blocking a road to the north-east of the town. Meanwhile, a pair of Tornados were tasked to deal with a second truck-bomb which had been positioned by terrorists to the north-east of Bayji. The vehicle was destroyed by a direct hit from a Brimstone missile.

Thursday 5 October: Intelligence had confirmed that a group of three buildings in eastern Syria, some forty miles south-east of Hasakah and close to a border crossing into Iraq, was being used as a base by Daesh. Two Typhoons conducted a carefully planned attack, each of the three buildings being struck with a Paveway IV.

Friday 6 October: a Reaper again patrolled north-east of Dayr az Zawr; its crew delivered attacks with Hellfire missiles on three groups of terrorists, including one manning a heavy weapon, and also supported two further strikes by coalition aircraft. Two Tornados supported the Syrian Democratic Forces inside Raqqa as they cleared remaining terrorist positions in the north-west of the city. Despite the SDF being very close to the target, the Tornados delivered a precision attack with a Paveway on a Daesh group firing from a building.

Saturday 7 October: Typhoons also operated over Raqqa, and bombed three further terrorist positions in the north-west of the city.

Thursday 12 October: This included two Tornado GR4s providing close air support to the Syrian Democratic Forces in Raqqah. A Paveway IV guided bomb was deployed to target the upper storeys of a building from which a Daesh sniper was firing, and a second weapon struck another building from which terrorists were engaged in a combat with the SDF.

Monday 9 October: a Reaper spotted a concealed truck-bomb, which allowed a coalition fast jet to destroy it with an accurate strike. The Reaper then dealt with a second such truck-bomb using its own Hellfire missiles, which resulted in a very large secondary explosion when the vehicle was hit, proving the presence of explosives.

Tuesday 10 October: a further Reaper armed reconnaissance mission identified a terrorist setting up a machine-gun position; he was killed by a Hellfire shortly after he opened fire. The Reaper's crew used a second Hellfire to destroy an armoured truck manned by several Daesh extremists, again to the north-east of Dayr az Zawr.

Thursday 12 October: over western Iraq, another Tornado flight dropped four Paveways on a Daesh camp in the desert, some 60 miles south-west of Ramadi.

Friday 13 October: A Reaper was again in action north-east of Dayr az Zawr; its crew observed a mortar being fired from a compound and scored a direct on the position with a Hellfire. The Reaper's crew then provided surveillance support to a coalition air strike on another position in the area.

Saturday 14 October: a Reaper successfully engaged one small group of terrorists with a Hellfire, then provided support to two air strikes on further extremists operating on foot nearby.

Friday 20 October: a Reaper aircraft operated to the north-east of Dayr az Zawr. Observing a group of armed terrorists taking up position in a building ahead of the Syrian Democratic Forces, it fire a single Hellfire missile scoring a direct hit on the building and eliminating the group inside.

Wednesday 25 October: A flight of Tornados was alerted to a group of terrorists who had been spotted concealing themselves in a culvert under a road to the south-east of Dayr az Zawr, close to Syrian Democratic Forces. A Paveway IV guided bomb was used in a successful attack on the entrance to the culvert.

Thursday 26 October: two Tornados used Paveway IVs to target a pair of buildings, some 20 miles east of Al Qaim in western Iraq, where a number of extremists were present, with stockpiles of weapons. Both buildings were demolished by direct hits.

Friday 27 October: A further Tornado patrol in the area of Al Qaim identified a terrorist supply lorry; it was destroyed with a Brimstone missile. In the Euphrates valley to the west of Ash Shirwaniyah, a second Tornado flight meanwhile used a pair of Paveway IVs to strike a Daesh-held building, then used another Brimstone to knock out an armed truck.

Sunday 29 October: Typhoon FGR4s supported the Syrian Democratic Forces south-east of Dayr az Zawr, attacking a terrorist position with a Paveway. In western Iraq, two Tornados conducted simultaneous attacks on a command post and a weapons stockpile, both located some five miles south of Husaybah.

Wednesday 1 November: Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s, based at RAF Akrotiri and supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker, flew an armed reconnaissance patrol over western Iraq. A coalition surveillance aircraft identified a group of terrorists gathered at a command post some miles to the north-west of Al Qaim, close to the Syrian border. Our aircraft attacked using two Paveway IV guided bombs; one demolished the command post building, whilst the second weapon accounted for several terrorists outside, along with their vehicles.

Thursday 2 November: Tornados conducted operations in the same area, and successfully bombed a building in which a Daesh observation post was stationed, attempting to direct mortar fire against Iraqi ground forces.

Saturday 4 November: two Tornados patrolled the other side of the border, in the far east of Syria. A mortar team was identified north-east of al Mayadin and successfully bombed. The Tornados then used a further Paveway IV to collapse the entrance to a terrorist tunnel nearby.

Sunday 5 November: Two flights of Typhoon FGR4s, armed with Paveway IVs, flew similar missions over eastern Syria. One flight eliminated a mortar team near the border town of Abu Kamal, whilst the second pair of Typhoons successfully conducted four phased attacks against a tunnel complex near Al Mayadin.

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