UK bombs Syria, Iraq nearly every day in 2017

UK bombs Syria, Iraq nearly every day in 2017
2 min read
15 April, 2017
The UK bombed Iraq and Syria 69 out of 99 days in 2017 as part of military operations against IS, dropping 216 bombs and missiles on both countries.
The UK bombed Iraq and Syria 69 out of 99 days in 2017 [Getty]
The UK bombed Iraq and Syria 69 out of 99 days in 2017 up until April 9 as part of military operations targeting the Islamic State.

The British parliament authorised airstrikes against IS in Iraq in September 2014, and just over a year later, backed airstrikes against IS in Syria.

The Ministry of Defence releases weekly updates of military operations, but not statistics on bombings.

An analysis of those updates by the BBC shows that British forces dropped 216 bombs and missiles in 2017, although that number is likely much higher as the MoD does not specify how many bombs are used in each strike.

The UK has carried out over 1,200 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria as part of its role in a Global Coalition committed to defeating IS, more than any other country expect the United States. In 2016, the US dropped 12,192 bombs on Syria and 12,095 in Iraq.

The most common weapon used by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) is the Paveway IV, a precision guided bomb, according to the BBC. At least 129 were dropped in Syria and Iraq in 2017, at a cost of £22,000 each.

Thirty-seven Hellfire missiles, 20 Brimstone missiles, and 30 unspecified bombs were also used. Brimstone missiles cost more than £100,000 each.

The focus of operations in Iraq at present is the fight against IS for control of Mosul. In Syria, the RAF has been supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in their battle against IS.

On Thursday, a misdirected airstrike by the US-led coalition killed 18 fighters from the SDF, its ally. The coalition aircraft were given the wrong coordinates by partner forces, the US central command said.

Last September, the UK admitted to taking part in US-led airstrikes that mistakenly killed up to 90 Syria soldiers and threatened to scupper a fragile ceasefire.

Earlier this year, Amnesty International said that US-led coalition airstrikes in Syria had killed over 300 civilians, although other estimates put the number of deaths as high as 1,000.

Last year, the British government said the coalition air campaign against IS was the most "precise" in the history of warfare.