Britain Bombs Syria Oil Field after MPs Vote for Airstrikes

Britain Bombs Syria Oil Field after MPs Vote for Airstrikes
Thu Dec 3, 2015 14:58:56

UK joined the US-led bombing campaign over Syria on Thursday, hitting an oil field held by ISIS terrorists just hours after a decisive parliamentary vote authorized airstrikes.

Royal Air Force planes based in Cyprus carried out the “first offensive operation against Daesh terrorist targets inside Syria,” the defense ministry said in a statement, using an alternative name for ISIS.

The strikes with Paveway guided bombs were carried out by four Tornado fighter jets and focused on targets in the Omar oil field in eastern Syria, 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the Iraq border.

The field “represents over 10 percent of their potential income from oil,” the ministry statement said, adding: “Initial analysis of the operation indicates that the strikes were successful.”

US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman welcomed Britain’s participation.

Momentum to join the strikes grew after last month’s terror attack on Paris in which 130 people were killed and Hollande on Thursday hailed a “new response to the call for European solidarity.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies there should be a single coalition to improve the “effectiveness” of the air strikes.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s government was backed by 397 lawmakers with 223 opposing the bombing in a vote late on Wednesday after a sometimes raucous debate lasting more than 10 hours.

A wide range of MPs including main opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke out against air strikes, condemning Cameron’s “ill thought-out rush to war” and saying his proposals “simply do not stack up.”

But Labour’s own chief foreign affairs spokesman Hilary Benn delivered an impassioned speech in favor of bombing, illustrating deep divisions in the party.

In the end 66 of Labour’s 231 MPs voted in favor, including 11 members of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet.

Cameron also refused to apologize to opposition MPs for reportedly telling fellow Conservatives in a private meeting ahead of the vote that they should not side with “a bunch of terrorist sympathizers.” AFP reported.

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