RAF Typhoon from RAF Coningsby armed with Paveway IV guided bombs (Crown Copyright, 2009)

RAF Taking on ISIS in Syria

RAF Jets and Drones Support Syrian Democratic Forces Against Islamic State

Op SHADER Update: RAF armed reconnaissance sorties continue daily in support of the Syrian Democratic Forces in their fight against the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) in the east of Syria, according to the latest release from the Ministry of Defence.

RAF Focuses on ISIS Operations in Syria-Iraq Border Region

A Tornado flight to the north of Hajin, in the Euphrates valley, launched two Paveway IVs, scoring direct hits on an Islamic State stronghold in a building on Wednesda,y 30 May. The focus for RAF attacks for the remainder of the week were terrorist facilities in eastern Syria towards the border with Iraq. On Thursday, 31 May, flights of Tornados and Typhoons joined forces to deliver an attack with twelve Paveway IVs against two large adjoining compounds being used by ISIS as a headquarters, weapons store and muster point. All twelve weapons hit and destroyed their intended targets. The following day, a Typhoon flight employed a single Paveway IV to demolish a smaller ISIS command post in the same area.

An RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft patrolled over eastern Syria on Sunday, 3 June. It provided surveillance support to a coalition air attack on a terrorist vehicle, then followed up with two attacks with its own Hellfire missiles against a further ISIS command post. Meanwhile, Typhoons used a Paveway IV to collapse the entrance to a terrorist tunnel.

Hellfire Missiles Destroy ISIS Vehicles

A Reaper provided further close air support to the Syrian Democratic Forces in the Euphrates valley on Monday, 4 June. An armed terrorist truck was reported to be to the north of Abu Kamal, and the Reaper’s crew were able to identify the vehicle, parked under cover in an attempt to conceal it, after a thorough search. A Hellfire missile destroyed the vehicle, with a number of subsequent secondary explosions as ammunition on the vehicle caught fire. The following day, another Reaper operated over eastern Syria, some ten miles east of Al Shadadi. A pair of Islamic State terrorists were tracked on a motorcycle, and both were killed by a direct hit from a Hellfire.

RAF Hit ISIS Positions in Al Shadadi

Reaper operations east of Al Shadadi continued on Friday, 8 June: an Islamic State fighter was tracked to a building where he joined forces with other extremists, allowing the building to be struck with a Hellfire. The Reaper’s crew then conducted a further successful attack with a Hellfire as ISIS fighters sought new positions after artillery fire destroyed their previous location. On Friday, 9 June, a Reaper used a Hellfire to destroyed an Islamic State pick-up truck armed with a 23mm gun, which had been concealed under trees east of Al Shadadi. Another Hellfire missile then dealt with a mortar in the same area, with a number of secondary explosions following the attack on its position. A further Reaper attack east of Al Shadadi was conducted on Sunday 10 June, when our aircraft observed an ISIS light machine-gun position being set up in an orchard – a Hellfire missile quickly dealt with the threat.

On 12 June, a Reaper was again in action east of Al Shadadi. the Reaper crew spotted a mortar hidden in trees and destroyed it with a direct hit from a Hellfire, whilst a coalition aircraft then conducted a successful strike on the building nearby where the ISIS mortar team were seen to be hiding.

Operation SHADER is the codename for British operations against ISIS as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Source: MOD

Image: A Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft from RAF Coningsby is pictured during Exercise Green Flag 08 held at Nellis AFB, Nevada, USA. A full complement of 6 Paveway IV laser guided bombs is pictured beneath the aircraft. (Crown Copyright, 2009.)