British air strikes in Iraq and Syria increase by 85% – UK approaching 1,000 strikes milestone

Jul16-6 month figsAnalysis of data released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) shows that British air strikes in Iraq and Syria in the first half of the year increased by an enormous 85% over the previous six months.

FoI data as well as updates published on the MoD’s website show that 249 strikes were launched from British aircraft and drones between July and December 2015, while 464 strikes were launched in the first six months of 2016.

As of the 30 June, the UK has carried out a total of 944 air strikes in Iraq and Syria since September 2014 and it’s likely that the UK will reach the significant milestone of 1,000 air strikes this month.  More than 13,500 strikes have been launched by the Coalition as a whole, the vast majority by the USAF.  However it should be remember that the term ‘air strike’ Read more

FoI reveals only 5% of British air strikes in Iraq and Syria are pre-planned

drone targetA Freedom of Information request by Drone Wars UK has revealed that only 5% of British air strikes in Iraq and Syria are pre-planned.

According to the FoI reponse from the Ministry of Defence out of 414 UK air strikes in Iraq and Syria during 2015, 395 were launched under dynamic targeting procedures while just 19 were pre-planned.  Dynamic targeting procedures are used when aircraft are already in the air and either ‘targets of opportunity’ are spotted or strikes are launched in defence of troops on the ground during direct combat. Read more

Scepticism over casualty claims as new data suggests some UK drones may have moved

Kobani air strike
Coalition air strike in Kobani, Syria

New data about UK military operations in Iraq and Syria has been released to Drone Wars UK and Vice News over the past few days following separate Freedom of Information (FoI) requests.

Vice News obtained details of the number of combatants killed or wounded in RAF strikes each month since Oct 2014.  The data shows that just under 1,000 combatants had been killed with almost 100 wounded.  While the MoD are extremely careful to say they cannot Read more

Huge increase in British air strikes over past 3 months

Analysis of information released by the Ministry of Defence shows a huge rise in the number of British air strikes against ISIS in Iraq since October 2015.  In addition our analysis also shows that the UK’s adoption of the US methodology for counting air strikes means that official MoD strike figures undercount strikes by around 30% compared with the traditional British methodology.

Increased British air strikes in Iraq

UK strikes (31Jan2016)

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UK drone and air strikes in 2015 – a look at the data

Analysing updates published by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of RAF operations in Iraq and Syria give something of an insight into the use of drones and aircraft for strikes by British forces in 2015.  The updates do not give a complete picture as some strikes are omitted (for example the targeted killing of Reyaad Khan) and the number of strikes recorded in the reports do not match officially published figures. Nevertheless they do give a broad indication of British air operations against ISIS. (Note the MoD’s definition of a ‘strike’ and how it calculates the number of a strikes it has launched is extremely convoluted and has changed during the year – see this explanation from the MoD.

Strikes in Iraq

UK-drone-air-strikes-2015 by month- c

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Fallon to face questions on drone targeted killing – but will there be answers?

Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon will face questions from the Human Rights Select Committee on Wednesday (16 Dec) over the targeted killing of two British men in a UK drone strike.  21-year old Reyaad Khan from Cardiff was killed in the strike in Syria on 21 August 2015 alongside 26-year old Ruhul Amin from Aberdeen and an unknown third man.

As the Prime Minster acknowledged in his statement to the House of Commons,the air strike was a significant departure from previous military operations: Read more