Harowo – RAF Tornado jets have carried out their first air strikes against so-called Islamic State in Syria, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.
Four Tornados from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus took part in the operation soon after MPs voted to approve bombing.
The strikes targeted the Omar oil fields in eastern Syria, which is under IS control, and were “successful”, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said.
He had personally approved the targets ahead of the Commons vote, he said.
MPs overwhelmingly backed UK military action against IS – also known as Daesh – in Syria, by 397 votes to 223, after a 10-hour Commons debate on Wednesday.
Mr Fallon said the MoD would be assessing the damage done by the bombing later, but the aim was to strike “a very real blow on the oil and revenue on which Daesh depends”.
He confirmed that eight more jets – two Tornados and six Typhoons – were being sent to Akrotiri to join the attacks.
The Typhoons have left RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, Scotland, to join the air strikes.
Less than an hour later, they were followed by a second pair loaded with the same weapons.
The use of high precision Paveway bombs, rather than the Brimstone missile, suggests they were hitting static rather than moving targets.
We waited for the first pair of Tornados to return to base. They landed after just over three hours in the air. As they taxied on the runway, it was clear to see their bombs were missing.
Mr Fallon said the there was a “very rigorous” process by which targets were chosen, and all British military action would adhere to “very strict rules of engagement”.
Asked how long the UK might be involved in the coalition campaign against IS in Syria, he said it would “not be quick”, but argued it had not been right to leave bombing to other air forces.
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