RAF air strikes in Iraq and Syria: July 2016

Updated 20 June 2017

1 July

Tornados used a Paveway IV to destroy a Daesh defensive position in the Qayyarah area.

3 July

Two RAF Reapers provided close air support to Iraqi security forces mounting an offensive near Sharqat. The Reapers gave targeting and surveillance assistance to 3 air strikes by coalition fast jets and conducted 7 attacks of their own. They used 6 Hellfire missiles and a GBU-12 guided bomb against various groups of Daesh extremists engaged in close combat with the Iraqi troops, and a truck. In north western Iraq, a Tornado flight used a Paveway IV to destroy a Daesh held building near Tal Afar, while Typhoons successfully targeted a tunnel and trench network south east of Hit, striking with 2 Paveway IVs.

4 July

A pair of Typhoon FGR4s used Paveway IV guided bombs to destroy a number of rocket launchers near Qayyarah. The Typhoons then moved further north and attacked a terrorist muster point some 25 miles south east of Mosul.

5 July

Typhoons were again active near Qayyarah where they conducted 2 successful Paveway IV attacks that destroyed a mortar team and a nearby ammunition stockpile. The Typhoons were 2 of the 50 coalition aircraft controlled over Syria and Iraq that day by an RAF Sentry E-3D, making its regular contribution to the coalition’s command and control of a round-the-clock air campaign, and were, as ever, supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker.

6 July

Tornado GR4s used Paveway IVs to strike a river crossing near Qayyarah which had been improvised by Daesh following successful coalition attacks against their supply routes. Meanwhile, a Reaper patrolled near Sharqat in support of Iraqi ground forces, and used Hellfire missiles against a motorcycle mounted terrorist observation team. It then struck a group of extremists identified manoeuvring in the open nearby.

7 July

In the early hours of Thursday, an RAF Reaper assisted Iraqi ground forces operating near Sharqat in the north of the country. The Reaper’s crew conducted 2 successful precision attacks using Hellfire missiles against 2 small groups of Daesh extremists firing on the Iraqi troops from a fortified position. Having located a larger group of terrorists, the Reaper then provided targeting assistance to an attack by coalition fast jets.

In northern Iraq, Tornado GR4s dropped a Paveway IV guided bomb which destroyed a heavy position 15 miles east of Mosul. Typhoon FGR4s meanwhile patrolled to the north of Ramadi and used a Paveway IV against a group of Daesh fighters concealed in a tree line.

8 July

A Reaper again supported operations around Sharqat. It conducted 4 attacks, with 3 Hellfires and 1 GBU-12 guided bomb, against several groups of terrorists manoeuvring in a gully, and an ammunition truck which was being loaded with rocket propelled grenades. Over Anbar province, Typhoons maintained their patrols along the Euphrates north and west of Ramadi and supported an Iraqi unit engaged in very close combat with 3 Daesh heavy machine gun and rocket propelled grenade teams. Despite the proximity of the Iraqi troops, the 3 positions were successfully struck with Paveway IVs.

9 July

A Reaper employed a Hellfire to destroy a truck carrying a Daesh group north of Bayji.

10 July

Tornados conducted an armed reconnaissance mission in the Mosul area. North west of the city, they used Paveway IVs to attack a command and control post, a mortar team, and a weapons cache, then used a Brimstone missile to destroy a second weapons stockpile. A second Tornado flight operated over Anbar province conducted 4 attacks with Brimstone missiles to destroy a group of engineering vehicles, which Daesh had mustered to construct positions 35 miles south west of Ramadi.

11 July

Tornado GR4s conducted an armed reconnaissance patrol in the Sharqat area in support of Iraqi ground forces. Our aircraft were able to identify a mortar position and delivered a successful attack using a Paveway IV guided bomb.

12 July

Patrols by Paveway armed Typhoon FGR4s continued over northern Iraq. One flight destroyed a heavily armed Daesh truck near Qayyarah, taking great care to avoid causing damage to a nearby mosque. Near Tal Afar a second Typhoon mission struck another armed truck concealed in a covered parking bay, a large secondary explosion followed as the vehicle’s cargo of ammunition detonated.

That night close to the Iraqi border with Syria, a meeting of Daesh commanders was known to be in progress at Kerabilah and a pair of Tornados conducted an attack with a salvo of 4 Paveway IVs that completely demolished the building. The Tornados then flew north east to the area north of Bayji and used Brimstone missiles to destroy 2 terrorist truck bombs.

13 July

A Tornado mission also used Brimstones to destroy 2 120mm heavy mortars some distance from Hit, whilst Typhoons destroyed a Daesh strong point south of Sinjar using Paveway IVs.

14 July

Two Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s patrolling the Mosul area spotted Daesh personnel using a truck mounted crane to perform maintenance work on an armoured vehicle. Paveway IV guided bombs destroyed both vehicles with direct hits.

15 July

Typhoons operating further west, conducted a Paveway bomb attack on a mortar position concealed in a tree line a number of miles south of Sinjar.

17 July

Typhoons also patrolled over Anbar province in western Iraq. Some miles north west of Ramadi, they observed a vehicle being loaded with weapons from a terrorist storehouse. A Paveway IV destroyed both the store and the supply truck.

18 July

Again in Anbar Province, Typhoons observed terrorist activity around a tent hidden in a dense palm grove. An attack with a Paveway IV not only struck the terrorists but also set fire to 2 stockpiles of ammunition and equipment and damaged a Daesh truck parked nearby, again under the trees.

19 July

Tornado GR4s used a Paveway IV against a mortar position near Qayyarah, while Typhoons employed a Paveway bomb to attack another mortar position south east of Mosul.

20 July

Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s, supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker, patrolled over northern Iraq. North of Mosul, a Daesh held building was identified in the path of a Kurdish advance. This was successfully targeted by Tornados using a Paveway IV guided bomb.

21 July

Tornados again operated over northern Iraq. A Paveway IV bomb attack destroyed a Daesh held building, along with a terrorist vehicle, a few miles to the south of Bashiqah.

22 July

RAF Typhoon FGR4s flew an armed reconnaissance mission along the Euphrates valley. They identified and struck a Daesh mortar team on the northern bank of the river with a Paveway IV.

23 July

Reaper remotely piloted aircraft have also continued to be very active in both their surveillance and attack roles over Iraq and Syria. A Reaper operated in close support of Iraqi ground forces in northern Iraq, around the Sharqat and Qayyarah areas. The Reaper’s crew conducted a successful attack, using a Hellfire missile against a Daesh mortar team firing on the Iraqis. They also provided targeting support to several highly accurate strikes by both artillery and coalition fast jets, which destroyed a number of rocket launchers.

24 July

Another Reaper flew over northern Syria to support Syrian moderate opposition forces fighting Daesh terrorists along the so-called Mar’a Line. The Reaper used a Hellfire missile to destroy a terrorist position which had been firing at the Syrians. The Reaper then used its sensors to locate a second position, which was successfully struck by another coalition aircraft.

26 July

The Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s provided overwatch, and conducted a successful attack with a Paveway IV guided bomb against a terrorist mortar position.

Tornado GR4s were also active in the same area the following day, when they used a pair of Paveway IVs to demolish a building which had been identified as a safe house used by Daesh foreign fighters near Sharqat. Meanwhile, Typhoons conducted a successful Paveway attack on 2 terrorist strongpoints, close to Syria’s border with Turkey, at the northern end of the so-called Mar’a Line.

28 July

RAF aircraft continued to provide close air support to the Syrian democratic forces on Thursday 28 July, when a Reaper patrolled the Manbij area. The Reaper’s crew conducted 4 attacks with Hellfire missiles against several groups of Daesh fighters, and assisted in 4 further attacks by coalition fast jets. In Iraq, Brimstone armed Tornados destroyed a mortar near Qayyarah, while a pair of Typhoons used a Paveway IV to strike a Daesh bunker on the shores of Lake Qadisiyah.

30 July

A Reaper was again in action over Manbij on Saturday 30 July, when it conducted 2 attacks with Hellfire missiles on Daesh fighters and also provided targeting assistance to a coalition air strike.

31 July

Tornados patrolling near Qayyarah, where they used a Paveway IV to bomb a group of terrorists spotted in the open.

In Mosul, extensive surveillance had established that Daesh were using a palace, built by the former dictator Saddam Hussein, as a major headquarters and training centre for foreign terrorist recruits. The complex, sat in a large secure compound next to the Tigris, included not just the main palace building, used as an accommodation and meeting venue by the terrorists, but also a number of more discreet outbuildings used for command and control, training, internal security and repression. A large coalition air package drawn from several nations conducted a carefully coordinated attack on the complex on the afternoon of Monday 1 August. The British contribution was a pair of Tornados, armed with the largest guided bombs in the RAF’s inventory, the 2000lb Enhanced Paveway III, which were used to target first the headquarters buildings, then a security centre. Initial analysis indicates that the coalition mission was successful.

RAF Tornados strike at a Daesh palace stronghold in Mosul.
RAF Tornados strike at a Daesh palace stronghold in Mosul.

Over Syria, Typhoons again flew close air support missions for the Syrian democratic forces on 1 August as they advanced into Manbij. A network of fortified positions on the south western edge of the town, held by a large number of Daesh extremists, was destroyed by a salvo of 8 Paveway IVs.