Australian warplanes make first air strike in Syria
Melbourne, September 16
Australian fighter jets have carried out their first air strike against the dreaded Islamic State militant group in Syria and destroyed an armoured personnel carrier, defence minister Kevin Andrews said today.
“I can confirm this morning that the Australian Air Task Group has carried out its first successful mission over eastern Syria,” the minister said.
“Two days ago an Australian hornet fighter aircraft destroyed a Daesh armoured personnel carrier with a precision guided missile,” he said.
“This is part of our logical extension in the fight against Daesh, to operate not just over northern Iraq but also to operate over eastern Syria in order to degrade and destroy Daesh forces,” he added.
Andrews said Australian fighter jets were never in any risk of enemy fire during the operation, and that strict controls were in place to limit civilian casualties.
“This was done from a distance or height that preserved the safety of the Australian aircraft,” he was qouted as saying by Australian Broadcating Corporation.
“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,” the minister said.
“Sorties are being flown over Syria and Iraq, the majority of our missions are still over Iraq and we’re doing them on a very regular basis,” he added.
The minister said that the aircraft, which were operating on an almost daily basis, were hornets at the moment, the Wedgetail command and control aircraft and the refueller.
The other countries listed as having taken part to date in the air strikes are Bahrain, Canada, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UAE and the US. —PTI