RAF aircraft have carried out over 1,700 strikes against Islamic State since 2014 and in his first visit to Cyprus, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson also met the crews who are playing a vital role in the coalition campaign to defeat Islamic State.
RAF aircraft flew on operations against the terrorist group every day over the Christmas period, striking terrorist compounds, trucks, mortars and pockets of fighters engaged in close quarter, street fighting with Syrian Democratic Forces.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“The dangers we face are changing and are intensifying rapidly. Eliminating the threat from terrorism is critical to our security at home and abroad. Our brave Armed Forces are working tirelessly, day and night, to defeat Daesh after helping to recover significant territory in Iraq. Only by defeating this evil and barbaric group for good will we reduce the deadly threat they pose to us, which is why we won’t stop until their global network is destroyed.”
Fast jets flying out of RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and remotely piloted Reaper aircraft continue to provide support to the SDF on the ground who are clearing the last remaining pockets of terrorists in Eastern Syria say the MoD. Adding that Typhoons, Tornados and Reapers worked closely with coalition partners, offering vital intelligence and close air support throughout December, destroying targets near Abu Kamal, Abu Hardub and Abu Hammam.
The MoD also say that Williamson visited UK troops stationed in Taji who, along with over 600 British soldiers on the ground in Iraq, are helping to train that country’s forces. UK troops have so far helped train around 60,000 Iraqi Security Forces in counter-IED, engineering and combat medical skills.