Yesterday the House of Commons undertook a ten-hour debate on whether we should bomb IS targets in Syria, with a vote at the end passing the government’s motion with 397 for and 223 against airstrikes.
And the RAF have wasted no time in getting started, with British warplanes launching their first campaign against ISIS in Syria just hours after the vote had passed.
According to The Independent four Tornado jets took off from an RAF base in Cyprus and returned at 3am without their weapons – a combination of 500lb Paveway bombs and Raptor surveillance pods, a BBC correspondent at the base reported.
The planes were reportedly targeting an oil field under IS control, and the Ministry of Defence confirmed the mission was the ‘first offensive operation in Syria’.
This isn’t the first time the RAF have flown over Syria, as they’ve been conducting operations against Islamic State in neighbouring Iraq for a while.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Wednesday:
[Britain is] already flying reconnaissance missions over Syria, with British planes carrying weapons over Syria into Iraq.
It would be a relatively simple exercise to extend the permissions to allow them to release those weapons over Syria, where they identify legitimate targets.
Footage released last night shows the jets taking off:
In a statement the MoD confirmed the mission was a success, saying: “Our initial analysis of the operation indicates that the strikes were successful,” adding there were no “civilians in the proximity of the targets, who might be placed at risk.”