RAF bomb ISIS drone operators for the first time
Gavin Williamson has pledged to destroy the 'poisonous global network' of Islamic terrorism as the British Army carried out a series of successful bombings of ISIS drone operators.
The Ministry of Defence has announced that RAF Reapers, Typhoons and Tornados struck every day last week, providing air support to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and clearing ISIS fighters from the Euphrates valley.
Around 130 UK-linked nationals have been killed in the fighting in the region as the coalition air campaign continues its battle to degrade terrorist cells.
Defence Secretary Mr Williamson said: “As the threats we face rapidly evolve and intensify, the work our brave armed forces do is paramount to our security at home and abroad.
“We have been clear that Daesh terrorists have nowhere to hide and we will continue to fight until their poisonous global network is totally destroyed.”
According the the MoD, RAF and coalition aircraft struck three terrorist drone teams earlier this week – marking the first time such targets have been wiped out.
Enemy forces are increasingly using drones in the battlefield.
Official MoD reports reveal the extent of the coalition's impact in the region since the start of the year.
On January 11, an RAF Reaper took out an ISIS fighter who was spotted on a rooftop controlling a drone used to locate SDF fighters and attack with improvised weaponry, and also hit an additional three groups of terrorists.
On January 13, a Reaper worked closely with a coalition aircraft which eliminated a terrorist drone team launching a quadcopter from a rooftop.
The following day a Reaper spotted a third terrorist drone team. With the extremists attempting to conceal themselves in a building, a Hellfire was directed accurately through the window, eliminating the ISIS drone operator.
In addition to eliminating Daesh drone teams, the MoD reports that a remotely piloted Reaper destroyed a group of terrorists manoeuvring near Abu Kamal, as well as ISIS fighters travelling across the desert on a motorcycle.
Two Typhoons were also active in the area and struck an ISIS command post on January 8.
Reaper operations continued into the following day near Hajin.
ISIS fighters had set up an observation post on a rooftop, looking for SDF positions. The Reaper struck the armed group with a Hellfire missile, as well as an ISIS-held building in the town.
Coalition activity increased later in the week, with a Reaper and Tornados conducting a series of strikes in support of the SDF advance on an ISIS-held building and mortar position.
The Reaper destroyed an armed truck and hit two groups of terrorist fighters manoeuvring on foot, whilst the Tornados struck an armed truck positioned within the compound.
The MoD also reports that another Reaper continued support to the SDF near Abu Kamal on January 12, conducting attacks with Hellfire missiles on an ISIS-held building and a terrorist moving at speed on a motorcycle.
There were two further successful attacks by coalition forces on January 13, along with five attacks with four Hellfire missiles and one GBU-12 guided bomb, striking four ISIS buildings and a defensive berm.
Since 2014 RAF aircraft have carried out around 1,700 strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Mr Williamson recently visited Iraq for the first time, where he said that eliminating the threat from ISIS was 'critical' to UK security.