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Update: air strikes against Daesh

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

16 September 2019


- Friday 23 August – a Reaper killed two terrorists at a weapons cache in the western desert of Iraq.
- Monday 2 September – Typhoons destroyed a Daesh training camp in northern Iraq.


Royal Air Force aircraft have continued to fly daily armed reconnaissance missions over Iraq and eastern Syria as part of the global coalition against the Daesh terrorist movement. On Friday 23 August, an RAF Reaper patrolled over the western deserts of Iraq's Anbar province, in support of operations by Iraqi security forces to prevent Daesh regaining a foothold in the area. Two armed terrorists had been identified by another coalition surveillance aircraft, and the Reaper found the pair at a hole dug in the desert floor, believed to be a weapons cache. A single Hellfire missile was fired by the Reaper's crew, which struck the terrorists and the concealed weapons.

A further strike in support of the Iraqi security forces was conducted by RAF aircraft on 2 September. Daesh had established a training camp in northern Iraq at a cluster of buildings in the desert, some 25 miles south-west of Ash Sharqat. Six specific targets amongst the buildings were identified, and two Typhoon FGR4s, armed with Paveway IV guided bombs, were duly dispatched from RAF Akrotiri. A coalition surveillance aircraft had kept a close watch on the site and confirmed that there was no sign of any civilians being present, whereupon all six targets were struck by the Typhoons.

UK contribution to the fight against Daesh

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

Previous update

Royal Air Force aircraft, alongside those from other coalition partners, have continued to fly daily patrols over Iraq and Syria following the liberation of the last Daesh-held territory by the Syrian Democratic Forces at Baghuz Fawqani in March. These missions provide reconnaissance information about any attempts by the terrorists to re-establish an operational presence in the region, and are able to strike any such activity that is detected. On Tuesday 16 July, two Typhoon FGR4s from RAF Akrotiri, supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker, were directed to a remote area of the desert in western Iraq, some 55 miles south-west of Ramadi, where a concealed terrorist stockpile of weapons had been identified. Our aircraft delivered an attack with a single Paveway IV guided bomb which scored a direct hit, destroying the stockpiled weaponry.

A further such mission in support of the Iraqi security forces was flown the following day. A group of terrorists had been identified at a building in the Al Jazirah desert in north-western Iraq, and a Typhoon flight was tasked to this location. As ever, our aircraft conducted a careful check of the surrounding area for any civilians who might have been placed at risk, then struck the Daesh-held building with Paveway IVs, destroying the building. Details of previous airstrikes can be found here.

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