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Update: air strikes against Daesh

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

4 March 2019


- Thursday 21 February – Typhoons bombed terrorists in a cave in northern Iraq.
- Saturday 2 March – a Reaper killed a small group of terrorists around Baghuz Fawqani in eastern Syria.


The Royal Air Force has struck two key targets, as the UK supports the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who are working to clear Daesh from their last small pocket of territory.

British aircraft have delivered air attacks to assist the SDF with operations on the ground, while conducting daily reconnaissance missions around Baghuz, eastern Syria. Coalition aircraft also remain available to assist the Iraqi security forces as necessary, to prevent Daesh from re-establishing a presence in the country.

On Thursday 21 February, two Typhoons were tasked with an attack on a cave in northern Iraq where a group of terrorists had been spotted, some ten miles east of Tal Afar. Coalition surveillance aircraft carefully checked the surrounding countryside for any civilians who might be placed at risk, before the Typhoons used two Paveway IVs to collapse the entrance to the cave.

A Reaper provided close air support to the Syrian Democratic Forces as they fought Daesh around Baghuz Fawqani on Saturday 2 March. The Reaper's crew observed a rocket-propelled grenade being fired from a building, and shortly afterwards a small group of armed terrorists emerged. They were tracked by the Reaper, whilst careful checks were made that no SDF or otherwise unidentified individuals were too close to them, then successfully engaged with a single Hellfire missile.

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

As the Syrian Democratic Forces have continued their operations to clear the last small remaining pocket of Daesh-held territory that has been identified in eastern Syria, Royal Air Force aircraft have maintained daily armed reconnaissance support, delivering air attacks if needed by the SDF on the ground. On Monday 11 February, the SDF encountered two Daesh strong-points on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, across the river from Abu Kamal. These strong-points were directing fire, including from a heavy machine-gun, at close range against the SDF, so assistance was requested from two RAF Typhoon FGR4s, supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker. The Typhoons conducted an accurate simultaneous attack on both strong-points, hitting each with a Paveway IV guided bomb, and successfully eliminated the threat to the SDF.

A further pair of Typhoons patrolled the Euphrates valley on Tuesday 19 February; a boat had been identified as being used by Daesh, and was found by the Typhoons to be moored on the river bank due south of Baghuz Fawqani. A Brimstone 2 missile was employed to deny the terrorists use of the craft, whether to bring in supplies or allow them to set up operations elsewhere. This was the first operational firing of a Brimstone 2 from a Typhoon FGR4, following the aircraft's recent upgrade.

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