Syria

United Kingdom Bombing ISIS in Syria, RAF Captain 'Absolutely Confident' There Would Be No Civilian Casualties

Cameron says the airstrikes would keep Britain safe.

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BBC

Yesterday, the British Parliament voted 397-223 in favor of bombings against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) positions in Syria after Prime Minister David Cameron argued such airstrikes would keep the country safer from ISIS, and that the UK had to "act now" and should not "sit back and wait for them to attack us." The British ambassador to the United Nations informed the Security Council of the country's decision today, saying it fell within the parameters of Security Council Resolution 2249.

That resolution, passed on November 20 as a response to the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people, called on member states to "redouble and coordinate their efforts" to suppress terrorism committed by ISIS, the Al-Nusra Front (an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria), other forces "associated with" Al-Qaeda, other terrorist groups that are designated or may become designated as terrorist groups by the UN, and to "eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria".

Sixty-six Labour members of parliament joined all but three members of the ruling Conservative party in supporting the airstrikes after a widely covered speech in favor of intervention by Labor's shadow foreign secretary, Hilary Benn ended ten hours of debate in Parliament.

Airstrikes began shortly after the parliamentary vote, which approved airstrikes only against ISIS targets in Syria. The vote follows one last year which approved British airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq. Prior to that, in 2013, Parliament voted down proposed airstrikes against Syrian government positions.

The defense minister, Michael Fallon, said British fighter jets hit seven targets among oilfields in eastern Syria, dealing a "severe blow" to ISIS, while Cameron warned his country of a lengthy anti-ISIS campaign. "It is complex and it is difficult what we are asking our pilots to do," Cameron said, "and our thoughts should be with them and their families as they commence this important work."

The British government, like the U.S., insists the Assad government in Syria be replaced by "a new Syrian state including some of those who are fighting it helping on the ground," as Fallon explained today.

Activists in the Syrian city of Raqqa, which serves as the de facto capital of ISIS and which the UK says would not yet be targeted in airstrikes, said they fear civilian casualties from the British campaign, while the Royal Air Force insists there would be no civilian casualties from its operations in Syria. "In over 400 airstrikes that the RAF has carried out in Iraq, we have had absolutely no civilian casualties reported," Captain Richard Davies, who also said he was "absolutely confident" there would be no civilian casualties in Syria, insisted in a BBC interview.

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  1. Captain Richard Davies…said he was “absolutely confident” there would be no civilian casualties in Syria.

    I loved his work in Dresden.

    1. No, no! That was “Bomber” Harris – this guy is more like “No-targeting” Davies.

      1. You can’t be accused of profiling that way.

      2. The question, of course is will the British still stick to only night-time raids and leave the more dangerous daytime raids to the Yanks?

  2. “In over 400 airstrikes that the RAF has carried out in Iraq, we have had absolutely no civilian casualties reported,” Captain Richard Davies, who also said he was “absolutely confident” there would be no civilian casualties in Syria, insisted in a BBC interview.

    I can almost believe it – when I was advising an Iraqi division at Basra, the Brits unleashed their artillery….to blow up some sand flats outside the city as a “show of force”. Didn’t target a single Jaish al-Mahdi position. No casualties, good guys or bad guys. Was an incredible sound, however.

    1. There’s also the possibility that there are no casualties reported, since they’re all dead.

      1. Dead Sandpeople? Dead Fremen?

        Not where this worthless shooting was being done. As for the RAF – yeah, that might be a bit optimistic (which is why I said “almost”).

  3. “Activists in the Syrian city of Raqqa, which serves as the de facto capital of ISIS and which the UK says would not yet be targeted in airstrikes”

    Well great the UK’s campaign is self-sabotaged right of the bat. If you’re not willing to be ruthless, don’t bother.

  4. “Yesterday, the British Parliament voted 397-223 in favor of bombings”

    SEE???? DEMOCRACY WORKS!!!

    1. Goddam cowboy Brits!

  5. What the hell kind of lame-ass political system does the UK have that allows Parliament to voice their opinion on whether or not the Prime Minister declares war on some shitty country whenever he wants to? I can’t imagine a stupid system like that flying over here in the good ol’ US of A, allowing some meddling Congressmen to usurp the authority of the Supreme Executive in such a flagrant manner.

    1. Parliamentary vs American bi-caramel: some would say that parliamentary is much better for freedom and bi-caramel just leads to the administrative state. Maybe America’s freedom is because of the Bill of Rights/USC not ‘division of power’.

      1. Mmmmm. Caramel…..

      2. Is “bi-caramel” when you like both regular AND salted?

        1. Not a huge fan of sweets, but caramel sea salt gelato is a treat.

      3. Parliamentary vs American bi-caramel:

        Is that the ice cream with sea salt?

      4. Parliamentary vs American bi-caramel:…

        I’m going to guess that you mean “bi-cameral” meaning “having, consisting of, or based on two legislative chambers”.

        Britain, Canada and Australia all have bi-cameral Parliaments.

        Not exactly sure why you chose to use that word, unless you do not know what it means.

        1. See bicameral defined for kids

          You linked to the wrong one for Cyto…

      5. The UK civil service is legendary as a prime example of “the administrative state” so that argument is pretty much dead in the water.

        1. I’m glad someone else noticed that?

  6. We are living through the 100th anniverary of WW1. Circumstances leave me disconnected from pop culture. Is anyone paying attention to this? My grandfather, on my mother’s side, from Belfast, drove an ambulance during the war. An ambulance was a vehicle that transported people or equipment from one place to another, not a medical emergency SUV as is it known now. He had a mean streak about him that kept most of my family on edge. But he and I got along like two peas in a pod.

    1. A surly Irishman? Next you’ll tell us he sometimes overindulged.

    2. He would drink one shot of whisky on the rocks with some water every evening at 5 pm, never more or less.

      1. I could use that sort of temperance.

    3. “Keep [the] Ottoman Empire as an umbrella over the Middle East. If you don’t, I say 100 years, you say 200 years: [There will be] no peace in the Middle East.” ? Damat Ferid Pasha, at the Paris Peace Conference

  7. what is left to bomb in raqqa? isn’t the leadership in hardened shelters now. what non-civilian infrastructure is left after all this time, or has previous bombing been that pathetic?

    1. I found this review of the Cafe Al-Naim:

      I visited the Al-naim cafe, Raqqah, Syria with my husband in late 2014. i was outraged! After entering the establishment i ordered two creme teas for me and my husband and the chap behind the counter looked at me like i was from an entirely different planet! I soon realized the chap didn’t even talk english. A few minutes past when a men wielding an FN SCAR modular assault rifle with tactical scope barged his way into the establishment ordering us to get in his motor vehicle. Once inside he blind folded both me and my husband and drove us to an undisclosed location. We spent the next three months living in what i can only describe as a hell hole! after extensive third party negotiations the british government managed to secure our release. i will not be visiting the Al-naim establishment again.

      1. Seems legit except I doubt ISIS militants use the SCAR

        1. ISIS has a large inventory of American weaponry they’ve captured, mostly from the Iraqi army. They feature it in the war booty section of Dabiq.

          1. Does the US even use the SCAR anymore? I thought even Ranger Regiment and JSOC were getting away from it?

            Pricey little thing. I liked it better than the AKM in full auto, not that I have much experience.

  8. At least their legislature actually gets a say in this…

  9. Mass shootings, bombings, police brutality are all over the news. Well here’s some good news for a change.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ykGVIFQ4rA

    1. Ew. I don’t want to see Almanian topless.

      1. OK. I lied. I clicked.

    2. Why is she dressed like a circus monkey?

  10. RAF Captain ‘Absolutely Confident’ There Would Be No Civilian Casualties

    “And when I say “none”, I mean there is a certain amount, more than we are prepared to admit.”

  11. Yo, sup guys? Trying to “verify” myself, whatever that means. Probably going to end up the victim of identity theft! Great!!

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