UK begins airstrikes on Syria after parliament vote

3 December 2015 (Last Updated December 3rd, 2015 04:05)

The UK has pressed its fighter jets into action over Syria after the parliament voted in favour of air strikes on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Middle Eastern country.

Tornado

The UK has pressed its fighter jets into action over Syria after the parliament voted in favour of air strikes on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Middle Eastern country.

Just about an hour after the voting, four Tornado GR4 attack and reconnaissance aircraft took off from RAF Akrotiri air force base in Cyprus with three 500lb Paveway bombs each.

They have reportedly targeted an oilfield held by the ISIL in eastern Syria.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence confirmed that the Royal Air Force (RAF) has undertaken its first offensive operation over Syria.

The jets have returned to their base after the mission.

Earlier on Wednesday, 397 members of parliament (MPs) said 'yes' for the strikes while 223 said 'no'.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn opposed the strikes but 66 of his MPs supported Prime Minister David Cameron on the matter.

Addressing the parliament, Cameron said: "The question before the House today is how we keep the British people safe from the threat posed by ISIL.

"ISIL have brutally murdered British hostages.

"They've inspired the worst terrorist attack against British people since 7/7 on the beaches of Tunisia and they've plotted atrocity after atrocity on the streets here at home.

"Since November last year our security services have foiled no fewer than seven different plots against our people.

"Since November last year our security services have foiled no fewer than seven different plots against our people."

"So this threat is very real.

"And the question is this: Do we go after these terrorists in their heartlands from where they are plotting to kill British people or do we sit back and wait for them to attack us?"

The UK has been carrying out attacks against ISIL in Iraq after the parliament voted 524 to 43 authorising airstrikes last year.

Welcoming the UK's decision, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said: "The UK has been a strong member of the Counter-ISIL coalition since it began in September 2014, making significant contributions to air operations, including through airstrikes against ISIL targets in Iraq and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions in both Iraq and Syria."


Image: Tornado GR4 jets have carried out the first air strikes on Syria. Photo: Crown Copyright.