The Ministry of Defence has revealed that RAF Reaper drones have flown nearly 200 armed missions over Syria since the start of combat operations last September. However, so far they’ve only carried out one airstrike – against two British born jihadists.
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The information came to light via a Freedom of Information Act, with the MoD confirming that Reaper UAVs, based in the Middle East, have flown 196 armed missions into Syria to carry out reconnaissance and intelligence gathering.
The only time a Reaper fired its weapons inside Syria though was on August 21st during a mission authorised by David Cameron targeting 21 year old Reyaad Khan, an ISIS recruit who was born in Cardiff, who was killed alongside another British born fighter Rahul Amin.
Rayeed Khan [pictured] was travelling in a vehicle when remotely targeted in the Hellfire missile precision strike.
At the time the Prime Minister said Khan was plotting barbaric acts on UK soil and was killed as an act of self-defence.
The MoD has also revealed details of other recent missions against Islamic State in Iraq. Last week Tornados from RAF Akrotiri destroyed an improvised artillery piece nicknamed the “hell cannon” as Iraqi troops advanced towards Ramadi. Two days later RAF jets destroyed an IS sniper position with a Paveaway guided bomb and then used it’s Brimstone missile on a vehicle near Sinjar.
RAF Reapers have also been busy – on Friday they used Hellfire missiles to hit an IS pickup truck and a checkpoint. The MoD say one of these Reapers also killed a large group of jihadi fighters when it dropped a guided bomb into an IS weapons store.
RAF aircraft have now carried out more than 380 airstrikes in Iraq since combat operations began last September.
Overall, including the huge US contribution, the coalition has now hit more than 8,300 IS targets in Iraq and Syria.