The Royal Air Force (RAF) bombed ISIS positions in Syria and Iraq 10 times in the last two weeks, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced yesterday.
The Ministry of Defence said: “A combination of Typhoon and Tornado jets, as well as Reaper drones, supported Syrian Democratic Forces on the ground, as Daesh [ISIS] continue to be pushed underground. British aircraft have also been lending assistance to the Iraqi security forces, to prevent the terrorists from regaining a foothold within the country.” Among the targets hit were five buildings, a road used by ISIS south-east of Hajin in Syria, a weapons warehouse in Anbar province in western Iraq and a series of tunnels hidden beneath palm groves 20 miles north of Baghdad.
The RAF has “continued to fly daily armed reconnaissance missions over eastern Syria in support of the Syrian Democratic Forces offensive against Daesh (ISIS) around Hajin,” the MOD added.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that nine of Britain’s new fleet of F-35 stealth fighter aircraft are ready to be deployed in Syria this summer. According to The Times, the Secretary of Defence warned UK enemies: “It means don’t mess with us, because we have the capability and we have the people and we have the will to always defend ourselves.” The F-35s are expected to join the Typhoon aircraft in sorties over Syria as part of Operation Shader, Britain’s contribution to the fight against ISIS.
The Defence Secretary also reaffirmed the UK’s plan to increase its current fleet of F-35s from 17 to 138 in a package worth £9.1bn.
Earlier this week two British Special Forces soldiers were seriously injured after an ISIS missile attack in the Deir al-Zour region. One of the soldiers was hit in the throat with shrapnel, and the other sustained “non-life-threatening” injuries. The soldiers were attacked alongside two fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). They were reportedly hit by a guided anti-tank missile near al-Shaafah in eastern Syria. A Kurdish soldier, fighting alongside the British forces, was killed in the missile strike and five other British troops were reportedly injured. The MOD has declined to comment on the attack.