On the 2nd of December 2015, Parliament voted 397 to 223 in favour of airstrikes in Syria.
In 2014, the Ministry of Defence confirmed that reconnaissance flights by Royal Air Force aircraft were occurring over Syria.
In March, the Ministry of Defence announced the deployment of around 75 military trainers and headquarter staff to Turkey to provide training to moderate opposition forces in Syria. In May, surveillance by UK Special Forces confirmed the presence of a senior leader named Abu Sayyaf in al-Amr, Syria, after which U.S. Special Operations Forces, based in Iraq, conducted an operation to capture him. The operation resulted in his death and the capture of his wife Umm Sayyaf.
In June, Prime Minister David Cameron once again made calls for airstrikes in Syria, following the 2015 Sousse attacks, perpetrated by IS, which left 30 Britons dead. These calls were then echoed by the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon who claimed there was an “illogicality” of British forces observing the Iraq-Syria border whilst IS do not. Michael Fallon has stated that the UK does not need the backing of Parliament to launch airstrikes in Syria, but the House of Commons will have the final say. On 19 July 2015, during a television interview with NBC, David Cameron stated that Britain was committed to destroying the caliphate in both countries.
In November, Prime Minister David Cameron formally made his case to Parliament for the UK to join allied airstrikes in Syria. The Prime Minister argued that joining airstrikes would make the UK safer.
Operation Shader is the name given to the British participation in the ongoing military intervention against the Islamic State. The operation began on the 26th of September 2014 following a formal request for assistance by the Iraqi government.
Prior to this, the Royal Air Force had been engaged in a humanitarian relief effort over Mount Sinjar, which involved multiple humanitarian aid airdrops by transport aircraft and the airlifting of displaced refugees in Northern Iraq. By October 2014, the intervention had extended onto Syria with the Royal Air Force conducting surveillance flights over the country.