Britain launched airstrikes in Syria against Islamic State just four hours after the Parliament voted in favor of the expanded military campaign against the terror group.
Four Royal Air Force Tornadoes took off from Akrotiri Air Base in Cyprus, and bombed one oil rig in the ISIS-captured region in Syria and the de facto capital Raqqa. The warplanes are safely back at the base, an anonymous source told the media.
The British Ministry of Defense released a statement on Thursday that the British Parliament had voted for the airstrikes and the Tornadoes had been flown to Syria on a bombing mission. A witness in Cyprus said he saw four warplanes, that belonged to RAF flew at the time that coincides with the timeline of the Parliament approval and the four hours delay in the airstrikes.
“RAF Tornadoes have just returned from their first offensive operation over Syria and have conducted strikes,” Ministry of Defense (MOD) said in a statement.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron urged the Parliament to debate and vote for the expansion of the airstrikes against an evil that is currently the biggest threat to the UK national security. The debate was set for Wednesday. The marathon lasted for 10 hours and voting followed shortly afterwards. The Parliament voted 397, for and 233, against. With the vote in favor of the bill, the RAF shortly afterwards launched the airstrikes targeting ISIS military strongholds and oil exporting businesses in Syria.
The statement said that high-precision, laser-guided Brimstone missiles were fired from the Tornado GR4 bombers in the targeted areas. The purpose of the increased airstrikes in Syria is to weaken ISIS’ infrastructure so that the eventual ground assault in ISIS-controlled regions can be the final nail in the coffin. The British parliament also voted for its Army’s participation in the US-led coalition forces ground attack on ISIS.
The allies have appreciated Britain’s decision to expand its military campaign’s scope in Syria. United States President Barack Obama appreciated the decision and assured that the allies will certainly work “to integrate them into our coalition air tasking orders as quickly as possible.”
With British parliament’s marathon of a session coming to an end, the focus has now shifted to Germany’s lawmakers, who are to decide whether to expand their military actions in the war against terror. Germany has been involved in the fight against ISIS for almost a year now. The bill that has been presented to the legislature is to increase its reconnaissance efforts for the US-led coalition forces.
Due to the section of the German constitution that prohibits the country’s armed forces to launch military campaigns on foreign soil, it has been assisting the allies with high-tech monitoring aircrafts to pinpoint the exact location of the enemy. They have also been assisting the forces in the training camps. The parliament will vote to increase these activities in the coming days.
An overwhelming political support is expected for the bill as German Chancellor Angela Merkel assured the French President Francois Hollande of every assistance possible to fight ISIS after the Paris terror attacks.