British Fighter planes carried out airstrikes in Syria early on Thursday, hours after Parliament voted to authorize air attacks against Islamic State (IS ) group targets there. Four Royal Air Force Tornados took off from a British air base in Akrotiri, Cyprus, shortly after the permission granted by lawmakers in the House of Commons.
A Ministry of Defense spokesman said the planes had conducted strikes in Syria, however he has not disclosed the details about their targets. The RAF has been launching strikes against IS targets in Iraq since 2014.
The decision to expand the campaign to Syria came after an emotional 10 and 1/2-hour debate in which Prime Minister David Cameron said that Britain must strike the militants in their heartland and not “sit back and wait for them to attack us.”
Opponents argued that Britain’s entry into Syria’s crowded airspace would make little difference and said Mr. Cameron’s military plan was based on wishful thinking that overlooked the messy reality of the Syrian civil war.
The mood has changed following the November 13 Paris attacks, claimed by the IS, that killed 130 people. Both France and the U.S. have urged Britain to join their air campaign in Syria, and Mr. Cameron said Britain should not let its allies down.
Mr.Cameron was backed by most members of his governing Conservative Party which holds 330 of the 650 Commons seats as well as members of the smaller Liberal Democrat Party and others.