Britain Targets ISIS-Controlled Oil Fields in Eastern Syria
Warplanes from Britain commenced the country’s first airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL) in Syria just one day after lawmakers voted to approve the action. The airstrikes, which targeted ISIS-controlled Omar oil fields in eastern Syria on Wednesday, were conducted by four Royal Air Force Tornados and are just the beginning of the campaign.
“There are plenty more of these targets throughout eastern, northern Syria which we hope to be striking in the next few days and weeks,” Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said.
While the United Kingdom has been previously contributing to the effort to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State in the rather feeble 65-nation coalition put together by U.S. President Barack Obama, the effort has been minimal to say the least. Britain’s participation in the U.S.-led operation has been only in Iraq. RAF Tornado GR4 surveillance jets and armed Reaper drones have been conducting daily flights over Iraq for weeks. The mission was gathering intel for coalition strikes while also providing close air support for Iraqi ground units.
Meanwhile, the vote came in the wake of the recent Paris attacks that killed 130 people. France has asked for unity among Europe’s military powers to expand the scale of military action against the militant group.