The fight to defeat Daesh is far from over, the Defence Secretary warned in Rome as he met with counterparts at the Counter Deash Ministerial to review the campaign, say the MoD.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“The UK will not be complacent when it comes to terrorism – a point I reaffirmed with my Global Coalition counterparts today. We pledged to continue to fight terrorists until their poisonous global network is totally destroyed. Despite Daesh’s diminishing territory, it is hell-bent on directing and inspiring terrorist attacks worldwide – threatening our security at home and abroad. The threat they pose is evolving and intensifying but our resolve to defeat them will not fade.”
As demonstration of this say the MoD, the RAF have struck 22 times in the past three weeks, destroying Daesh drone operators, terrorist compounds, observation points, heavy machine-gun teams and pockets of fighters engaged in close quarter, street fighting with Syrian Democratic Forces. According to a press release:
“On Monday 5 February, a Reaper struck a pair of terrorists riding a motorcycle at speed across countryside. On Wednesday 7 February, another Reaper tracked a number of terrorist targets in the same area, allowing two Daesh-held buildings to be struck successfully by coalition fast jets. The Reaper dealt with a third such building used as a firing point against the SDF, whilst two Tornados destroyed a terrorist observation post, then attacked a building from which a Daesh team planting booby-traps was operating.
On Friday 9 February, a Reaper provided surveillance support to a series of coalition air strikes on terrorist targets, and conducted an attack with a Hellfire missile against a group of extremists who were firing upon the Syrian Democratic Forces. A Tornado flight also carried out successful attacks on two Daesh-held buildings. The next day, a Reaper hit two groups of terrorists operating within buildings, and two other groups fighting in the open. The Reaper’s crew then tracked a local terrorist command team as it moved between locations, supporting a successful attack by coalition fast jets.”
RAF aircraft have carried out nearly 1,700 strikes against Daesh in Iraq and Syria since 2014. The UK have deployed Reaper UAVs, Typhoon jets and Tornados, have conducted significant ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) missions and have provided additional air support such as in-flight refuelling and transporting.