(Picture: MOD).
Operations

RAF Conducted 10 'Successful Airstrikes' Over Christmas Period, Says MOD

The MOD announced the RAF had conducted 10 'successful airstrikes' in 19 days on Daesh targets in Syria.

(Picture: MOD).

The Tornado GR4 was one of the aircraft used in the airstrikes (Picture: MOD).

The RAF conducted 10 successful airstrikes in 19 days over the Christmas period on Daesh targets in the east of Syria, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced. 

The airstrikes took place between 19 December and 6 January, with targets being hit on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. 

A combination of RAF Typhoon and Tornado jets, as well as Reaper drones, have been supporting Syrian Democratic Forces on the ground as Daesh's grip on the country weakens.

Britain has been fighting Daesh, also known as the so-called Islamic State (IS), since 2014 as part of Operation Shader, with RAF jets flying daily missions over Iraq and Syria from their base in Cyprus.

Typhoon fighter jet at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.
Typhoon fighter jet at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.

The latest airstrikes were conducted over the Hajin region in Syria which is seen as Daesh's last major territory in the country, according to the  MOD.

The MOD released details of the airstrikes: 

• Wednesday 19 December – Tornados destroyed a truck-bomb concealed inside a building south-east of Hajin in Syria.

• Friday 21 December – a Reaper engaged a group of Daesh extremists south-east of Hajin, whilst Tornados struck two workshops making IEDs.

• Saturday 22 December – a Reaper hit a terrorist heavy weapon and its crew to the south-east of Hajin, and Tornados bombed three Daesh strong-points including a heavy machine-gun position.

• Monday 24 December – Tornados attacked two Daesh-held buildings south-east of Hajin.

Video: Footage from airstrikes on 22 December. 

Wednesday 26 December – Typhoons and Tornados struck five terrorist-held buildings and cratered a road south-east of Hajin to prevent Daesh moving along it.

• Thursday 27 December – Typhoons and Tornados hit three Daesh positions south-east of Hajin.

• Friday 28 December – Tornados destroyed a terrorist stockpile of weapons hidden underground in the western deserts of Iraq.

• Monday 31 December – Typhoons bombed a tunnel north of Baghdad where terrorists had taken up residence.

• Tuesday 1 January – a Reaper engaged a small group of extremists south-east of Hajin.

• Sunday 6 January – a Reaper struck terrorists in eastern Syria, to the north of Abu Kamal.

An RAF Reaper UAV conducted four of the ten airstrikes (Picture: MOD).
An RAF Reaper UAV conducted four of the ten airstrikes (Picture: MOD).

The MOD added that British aircraft continue to support Iraqi security forces to prevent Daesh from regaining a foothold within the country.   

As part of a coalition of nations fighting Daesh, the UK remains the second largest contributor behind the US. However, President Donald Trump has now announced plans to withdraw all 2,000 American troops from Syria

In the financial year 2017 to 2018, the UK's bill for fighting Daesh reached more than £583m.

For the RAF, Operation Shader has been the highest tempo operation of the past 25 years.