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Update: air strikes against Daesh

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

29 April 2019


- Wednesday 27 March – Typhoons collapsed the entrances to two caves used by Daesh in northern Iraq.
- Wednesday 24 April – Typhoons bombed six cave and tunnel entrances used by Daesh in northern Iraq.


Following the liberation by the Syrian Democratic Forces of the last territory held by Daesh in Syria, Royal Air Force aircraft have continued to fly daily armed reconnaissance missions ready to support both the SDF and the Iraqi security forces to frustrate any attempts by the terrorists to re-establish a presence in either country.

On Wednesday 27 March, two Typhoon FGR4s flying from RAF Akrotiri, and supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker as normal, were tasked to assist the Iraqis, who had identified a set of caves used by Daesh in very hilly terrain some thirteen miles east of Bayji. The Typhoons were able to strike the two cave entrances with a Paveway IV apiece.

In similar fashion, coalition intelligence efforts pinpointed a dispersed Daesh network of caves and tunnels in the hills some forty miles east-north-east of Tikrit, and two Typhoons were assigned to attack the six entrances on Wednesday 24 April. Paveway IV guided bombs were once again successfully employed by our aircraft in carrying out this mission.

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

Royal Air Force aircraft, alongside other coalition partners, have continued to provide close air support to the Syrian Democratic Forces as they attacked the last remaining Daesh stronghold in eastern Syria, at Baghuz Fawqani. Typhoon, Reaper and Sentinel aircraft have flown daily reconnaissance missions, with the Typhoons and Reapers ready to engage targets if requested by the SDF. On Tuesday 12 March, the SDF came into contact with Daesh in dispersed positions, and two Typhoon FGR4s conducted a series of three attacks, using a total of four Paveway IV guided bombs, which successfully silenced the terrorists' fire. In addition, a large number of vehicles had been abandoned in the area of the fighting, and one large truck in their midst was identified as booby-trapped with an improvised explosive device. The Typhoons were able to pick out and safely destroy this truck-bomb with a single Brimstone 2 missile.

Typhoons conducted a further attack on Sunday 17 March when the SDF came under fire at close range from a building held by Daesh in Baghuz Fawqani. The proximity of the SDF to the target required particular careful targeting by the Typhoons' pilots, but a single Paveway IV demolished the terrorist position with great accuracy.

The crew of a Reaper observed two terrorists, who were attempting to conceal their weapons under heavy cloaks, taking up position in a trench at Baghuz Fawqani on Monday 18 March, and successfully engaged them with a Hellfire missile. Typhoons were also patrolling the area, and they conducted an attack which struck four dispersed Daesh positions simultaneously with Paveway IVs.

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