Britain Launches Syrian Air Strikes

By Mario Damasceno,
International News Writer

The British defense ministry stated on Thursday, Dec. 3 that the Royal Airforce conducted heavy fire in Syria on an oilfield held by ISIS, as reported by CNN.

The decision to begin the airstrikes was reached by vote within the British Parliament. According to CNN, the vote ended in a 397 to 223 victory for those in favor of bombing ISIS.

A statement by Gov.uk indicates that the British initially deployed a fleet of Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s to conduct strikes against multiple targets within the oilfield. Known as Omar, this oilfield is one of the largest and most financially important for ISIS, making up 10% of their income.

Britain’s decision to begin these airstrikes in Syria are a direct result of the terrorist group’s attacks in France and Tunisia as described in an ABC News article.

As quoted by Gov.uk, Defense Secretary Michael Fallon stated that, “We have come to the aid of France and responded to the call of the United Nations. This will take time but I am very pleased that a clear and decisive majority was attained to target the group, which is a menace to us here in the UK.”

Furthermore, the data published by CNN indicates that with the British involvement within Syria, the number of planes and active airstrikes has greatly improved, increasing the number of allied airstrikes to just under 3,000.

The Ministry of Defense also tweeted that they were “doubling UK strike force against #Daesh by sending two Tornados & six Typhoons to @RoyalAirForce Akrotiri today,” as reported by CNN.

Akrotori is located in Cyprus, and has been used by the RAF as a launch-pad for attacks on ISIS in Iraq for over a year.

Reports by Reuters indicates that the strikes conducted by the RAF have so far failed to lessen the terrorist group’s control over the region; however, the US has stated that British support has helped stop any ISIS advances.

The UK’s engagement has caused some controversy among Parliamentary members.

In response to said controversy, Prime Minister David Cameron posed this question on Thursday, December 3, as quoted by ABC News, “The question is this: do we work with our allies to degrade and destroy this threat and do we go after these terrorists in their heartlands from where they are plotting to kill British people, or do we sit back and wait for them?”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 8th print edition.

Contact Mario at
mario.damasceno@student.shu.edu

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