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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Australia warplanes conduct 1st Syria operation

Iran Press TV

Sat Sep 12, 2015 9:8AM

Australian warplanes have conducted their first aerial operation in Syria after Canberra joined the so-called US-led coalition targeting purported Daesh positions in the conflict-wrecked country.

The operation was carried out on Saturday three days after the Australian government consented to Washington's request to contribute to the coalition.

Two Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornets, an RAAF refueling plane, and an E-7A command aircraft were involved in the raid, during which no weapons were fired. 'The Hornets were also prepared for any short-notice high-priority tasking which could include surveillance and weapons release,' said Australia Air Task Group (ATG) Commander, Air Commodore Stu Bellingham.

'We cannot defeat Daesh in Iraq without defeating Daesh in Syria too,' Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has alleged.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011 with reports saying more than 240,000 people having been killed in the conflict.

The US and its regional allies - especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey - have been supporting the militants operating inside Syria for more than three years.

The US-led coalition has been pounding purported Daesh targets inside Syria since last September without any authorization from Damascus or a United Nations mandate.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad complained back in May that the coalition does not aim to "do away" with the terror group, saying, "They want to use this terrorist structure for threatening and blackmailing other countries."

Earlier in September, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi slammed the so-called anti-Daesh coalition as "nothing but a huge lie," saying that, "Facts prove that this alliance is a failure, and that it's selective in choosing its targets."

The ATG is also operating in Iraq, where Washington and some of its allies have likewise been reportedly carrying out air raids against what they say are Daesh positions since August 2014.

The combined operations, however, have so far failed to dislodge the group, which continues to carry out horrendous crimes against members of all communities in both countries.

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