Operation SHADER is the operational code name given to British military operations undertaken as part of the US-led international coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Following a formal request for assistance by the Iraqi government, the operation began in Iraq on 26 September 2014. The intervention extended to Syria in October 2014, with the Royal Air Force mandated to conduct surveillance flights over the country. On 2 December 2015, the British Government approved RAF airstrikes against ISIL in Syria. Since then, the RAF has operated at its highest intensity in 25 years in a single theatre of operation: as of June 2016, over 1,000 personnel were engaged, with the RAF having flown more than 2,200 sorties, including approximately 900 airstrikes that have resulted in the deaths of nearly 1,000 ISIL fighters. This level of operation is already greater than the UK involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UK is one of several countries directly involved in the ongoing Syrian conflict that started in March 2011.

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