MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom has targeted Daesh in a total of 1,602 airstrikes across Syria and Iraq since the country launched an air operation in those two Middle Eastern countries as part of the US-led anti-terror coalition in September 2014, the UK Defense Ministry said in a statement Thursday.
"British aircraft have struck Daesh [the Arab acronym for IS] 1,340 times in Iraq and 262 times in Syria. In that time the group has lost territory, finances, leaders and fighters as the 73-member coalition has liberated cities in both countries," the statement read.
The ministry said that the UK Air Force was a major contributor, second only to the United States, to the massive retreat of Daesh militants in Syria and Iraq over the three years. According to the statement, the UK's RAF Typhoon and Tornado fighters, along with Reaper drones, assisted the anti-terror operation in Iraq and Syria by carrying out airstrikes, providing transport support, as well as conducting surveillance and reconnaissance operations.
The US-led coalition of more than 70 members is conducting airstrikes, as well as employing ground-based and rocket-propelled artillery fire against Daesh in Syria and Iraq. The strikes in Iraq are conducted in support of the Iraqi government, but those in Syria are not authorized by the government of President Bashar Assad or the UN Security Council.