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20° Nicosia,
16 October, 2019
 
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British jets in Cyprus take part in Syria operation

Tornados take off from RAF Akrotiri, fire missiles without entering Syrian airspace

Newsroom

Four British Tornado jets took off from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus on Saturday to join precision strikes against Syria, jointly taken on by the US, the UK and France.

The four jets, which did not enter Syrian airspace according to the BBC, fired their GPS-guided Storm Shadow missiles and then returned safely to their base.

The cruise missile is 5m (16ft) long and has a range of 300 miles. They had already been programmed to find their target using GPS.

The UK’s role is described as minor in the overall military operation, with the Ministry of Defence describing the action as 'proportionate'

The four Tornados fired the missiles well away from Syrian airspace out of range of the regime's air defences and then they all returned safely.

The Ministry of Defence said Storm Shadow missiles were launched by four RAF Tornados at a former missile base 15 miles west of Homs, where it is thought the Assad regime is stockpiling items used to make chemical weapons.

A spokesperson added the facility was "located some distance from any known concentrations of civilian habitation" and scientific analysis was used to "minimise any risks of contamination to the surrounding area".

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Saturday she had authorised British forces to conduct precision air-launched cruise missile strikes on Syria to degrade its chemical weapons capability, saying there was no alternative to military action.

The UK’s role is described as minor in the overall military operation, with the Ministry of Defence describing the action as "proportionate".

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson said the strikes were part of a united response that sent a clear message to President Assad.

Akrotiri air base, outside Limassol, is currently used by British fighter-bombers for strikes against the Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq and for collecting intelligence.

The Cyprus government has stressed it is not involved in any planned attack on Syria and no country has asked to use facilities on the island.

 

 

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Syria  |  RAF  |  Akrotiri  |  Tornado  |  chemical  |  weapons  |  Limassol

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