Australia Conducts First Anti-ISIL Airstrike in Syria

© Boeing CoRoyal Australian Air Force EA-18G Growler
Royal Australian Air Force EA-18G Growler - Sputnik International
The airstrike destroyed an ISIL armored personnel carrier in eastern Syria.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Australian fighter jets carried out their first airstrike on Islamic State jihadist group positions in Syria, Australian Defense Minister Kevin Andrews said on Wednesday.

"Two days ago, the Air Task Group completed its first strike against Daesh [Arabic acronym for ISIL] in eastern Syria, destroying an armored personnel carrier," the minister was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper as saying.

During the operation, Australian military aircraft were not at risk of enemy fire, Andrews said, adding that strict guidance and controls were in place to limit the civilian impact.

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The Islamic State is an extremist militant group currently in control of vast territories in Iraq and Syria. The advance of the group is being countered by the armies of Syria and Iraq, supported by Kurdish troops. Along with the forces on the ground, a US-led international coalition, currently including 60 countries, has been conducting airstrikes on ISIL positions.

Last month, Australia received a formal request from the United States to expand its role in the fight against ISIL in Syria, deploying the Royal Australian Air Force in the region. Canberra did not agree immediately, but at the time promised to consider the decision, alongside its readiness to enter into combat.

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