Australia launches first air strikes against ISIS in Syria

Australian warplanes carry out their first air strike against ISIS positions in Syria, destroying armoured personnel carrier

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

The Australian government has confirmed it has launched its first air strikes inside Syria against ISIS targets, Defence Minister Kevin Andrews said on Wednesday.

The minister told reporters, “This is part of our logical extension in the fight against Daesh (Arabic acronym for ISIS) to operate not just over northern Iraq but also to operate over eastern Syria in order to degrade and destroy Daesh Forces.”

"We work within very strict rules of engagement, and those rules of engagement are to ensure as far as possible that we don't have unwanted civilian casualties," Andrew added.

Australia who is part of an international military coalition targeting ISIS strongholds in Syria and Iraq has been bombing ISIS targets in Iraq for about 12 months.

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott last week confirmed the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) would extend its action from Iraq into Syria at the request of the US.

Abbott also announced that Australia would accept 12,000 Syrian refugees from persecuted minorities.

Turkey, the United States, Canada, and the Gulf states have already been involved in strikes on ISIS militants in Syria while France has been carrying out surveillance flights over Syria in preparation for air strikes.

Australia joined the US-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq last year and extended air operations into Syria last week, saying the legal basis was the collective self-defence of Iraq against ISIS.

Australian aircraft completed their first operation over Syria on Friday but did not attack any targets while Britain killed two ISIS militants in a drone attack in Syria last week.

TRTWorld and agencies