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The Brits take action in Syria. Omar oil field targeted

BaseRafAkrotiriHangar@UK151203(B2) The House of Commons had barely finished voting (*) when the engines of fighter jets roared over the Royal Air Force base in Cyprus.

4 Tornado GR4s planes took off from Akrotiri this Thursday (December 3) at night. Just an hour after the end of the vote, the BBC correspondent on the spot noted that two planes had taken off. Direction: Syria, as quickly confirmed by the UK Ministry of Defence. In the air, also a Voyager plane - to ensure refueling - and a Reaper drone - to ensure surveillance and especially the return on the effectiveness of strikes. Six targets had been precisely identified by the coalition, aimed by high-precision (GPS or laser) guided bombs Paveway IV, placed under the Tornado.

Particularly targeted: the oil fields of Omar about 60 km inside Syria to the east of the border with Iraq. The Omar field is one of the largest and largest oil fields held by Daesh (aka ISI). It provides it, according to the British, with up to 10% of their oil resources.

« Cutting the sources of income is extremely important to degrade (reduce the strike force of terrorists, undermine their campaign in Iraq and begin to reduce their action in northern Syria said British Defense Minister Michael Fallon.

Oil priority objective

Oil has become a priority target for coalition planes, mainly Americans, against Daesh but also Russians. Because it is a question of hitting ISIS on the wallet. Until recently, there was some reluctance because of the risk of collateral damage. " Hitting a tank truck is risky “assured a military source to B2. On the one hand, we must to be sure that what is conveyed in the truck belongs to the forces of ISIS. On the other hand, the risk of collateral damage - passing through a village, or the presence of other vehicles or pedestrians nearby - was not negligible. Today this reluctance seems to have disappeared. Just like the risk of pollution, possible, in the event of a strike on an oil field.


(*) At the end of a long and intense debate, very democratic - as only the British can do it, in a certain way - the House of Commons approved, on Wednesday (2 December), the enlargement of the strike missions from Iraq to Syria. The majority was ultimately larger (397 votes against 223) than the government could have expected.


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).