British forces are engaged against Daesh in Operation Shader. The operation began in Iraq in 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 aid airdrops by transport aircraft and the airlifting of displaced refugees.
By October 2014, the intervention had extended onto Syria with the Royal Air Force only mandated to conduct surveillance flights over the country. In 2015, the House of Commons approved British airstrikes in Syria. The UK is one of several countries directly involved in the ongoing Syrian conflict that started in March 2011.
In March 2016, the Ministry of Defence announced that over 1,000 personnel were engaged in theater and that the Royal Air Force had conducted a total of 640 airstrikes, flying over 2,200 sorties, killing almost 1,000 ISIL fighters.
Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt has applauded the dedication of UK personnel combating Daesh.
The Minister has praised the tireless dedication of the UK Armed Forces stationed abroad as they continue to degrade Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt said:
“The men and women based here are playing a vital role in the fight against Daesh and it is important we continue this intensity until the terrorists are eliminated from the region. From the personnel in Cyprus to those stationed across the Middle East I want to express my sincere appreciation for your tireless commitment, not only engaging Daesh at source but ultimately keeping Britain safe.”
The United Kingdom has flown a third of all coalition surveillance flights over Iraq and Syria. The Tornado GR4’s RAPTOR reconnaissance pod has gathered 60% of the coalition’s entire tactical reconnaissance in Iraq.