The UK continues to demonstrate its world-leading air capability in the campaign against Daesh’s last major territory, Hajin, with 10 successful air strikes in 19 days over the Christmas period according to the Ministry of Defence.
A combination of Typhoon and Tornado jets, as well as Reaper drones, supported Syrian Democratic Forces on the ground, as Daesh continue to be pushed underground.
British aircraft have also been lending assistance to the Iraqi security forces, to prevent the terrorists from regaining a foothold within the country.
Here is a summary of some recent sorties:
• Wednesday 19 December – Tornados destroyed a truck-bomb concealed inside
• Friday 21 December – a Reaper engaged a group of Daesh extremists south-east of Hajin, whilst Tornados struck two workshops making IEDs.
• Saturday 22 December – a Reaper hit a terrorist heavy weapon and its crew to the south-east of Hajin, and Tornados bombed three Daesh strong-points including a heavy machine-gun position.
• Monday 24 December – Tornados attacked two Daesh-held buildings south-east of Hajin.
• Wednesday 26 December – Typhoons and Tornados struck five terrorist-held buildings and cratered a road south-east of Hajin to prevent Daesh moving along it.
• Thursday 27 December – Typhoons and Tornados hit three Daesh positions south-east of Hajin.
• Friday 28 December – Tornados destroyed a terrorist stockpile of weapons hidden underground in the western deserts of Iraq.
• Monday 31 December – Typhoons bombed a tunnel north of Baghdad where terrorists had taken up residence.
• Tuesday 1 January – a Reaper engaged a small group of extremists south-east of Hajin.
• Sunday 6 January – a Reaper struck terrorists in eastern Syria, to the north of Abu Kamal.
With the SDF pushing south-east from Hajin, Tornado GR4s provided close air support on Wednesday 19 December.
The SDF encountered a truck-bomb concealed inside a
A single Paveway IV guided bomb, on target, allowed them to continue their advance.
Further support was rendered on Friday 21 December by a Reaper and another flight of Tornados.
The Reaper’s crew successfully used a Hellfire missile against a small group of Daesh as they moved across
The following day, a Reaper spotted terrorists manning a heavy weapon and engaged them with a Hellfire which scored a direct hit.
The Reaper then provided surveillance support to a coalition air strike on a Daesh-held building nearby.
Tornados were also active south-east of Hajin, conducting Paveway IV attacks which destroyed a heavy machine-gun position and two other Daesh strong-points.
Further targets were identified on Monday 24 December, when Tornados, as ever supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker, bombed two terrorist-held buildings in the path of the SDF advance.
With Daesh continuing to lose ground, it was necessary to prevent them moving men and equipment, most particularly their favoured truck-bombs, along a road towards the SDF; a pair of Typhoons cratered the road with Paveway IVs on Wednesday 26 December.
The Typhoons then joined a Tornado flight in destroying three Daesh-occupied buildings: the Typhoons dealt with one target, the Tornados struck the other two.
The Tornados remained on station to provide further assistance if required by the SDF, and subsequently attacked a further two buildings from which the terrorists were firing.
On Thursday 27 December, Typhoons bombed two more buildings held by Daesh, whilst Tornados hit a third.
Coalition aircraft remain available to support the Iraqi security forces as and when required, to ensure Iraq remains free of Daesh.
Intelligence established that a terrorist stockpile of weapons was concealed deep in the western deserts of Anbar province, and two Tornados were tasked with its destruction on Friday 28 December.
This was accomplished using a pair of Paveway IVs.
Operations continued south-east of Hajin on New Year’s Day, with a Reaper providing overwatch for the SDF.
Surveillance support was given to a coalition air strike on a Daesh strong-point, and the Reaper’s crew then tracked terrorists as they attempted to take up new positions, engaging them with a Hellfire missile.
With the SDF pushing further to the south and east of Hajin, along the road to Abu Kamal, a Reaper again flew overwatch for them on Sunday 6 January.
The Reaper tracked a Daesh group to a compound some miles north of Abu
Two terrorists attempted to take up a new position after the compound was bombed, but were successfully engaged by the Reaper, using a Hellfire missile.
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