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British pilots take part in anti-ISIL bombing campaign in Syria

Cameron meets pilots taking part in airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq at a Cyprus base in 2014

A number of British pilots have secretly taken part in anti-ISIL bombing campaign in Syria despite a 2013 parliamentary vote against any military action in the war-hit Arab nation.

Human rights group, Reprieve, reveals that service personnel acted under auspices of other members of the US-led anti-ISIL coalition. The details were revealed under a freedom of information request from the rights group.

About 20 personnel, including 3 pilots reportedly embedded with anti-ISIL coalition

Although the figure cited is believed to be in the single digit. It is also not known what planes British pilots have used to carry out strikes but reports suggest that they were embedded with American and Canadian air forces.

The Ministry of Defense had, so far, maintained that the UK was contributing to the anti-ISIL coalition with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

The participation of the Royal Air Force in Syria campaign is, however, against the 2013 motion in parliament that rejected any military campaign in Syria. The House of Commons had authorized the defense ministry to go ahead with airstrikes in neighboring Iraq alone.

“The UK government would never be able to succeed in the Middle East because they are the architect of the problems in the first place and the only way it can solve is not to try to bomb more people. The UK government is not actually looking for a political solution, if you look at the extensions [sic] by the UK government, most of them have been around providing funding to certain groups. In fact it led to more support for ISIS because of the military action this country has been taking”, Raza Nadim, a London-based political commentator told Press TV.

Recently though, the Conservative government has hinted of extending air strike in Syria in the wake of the Tunisia massacre that was carried out by an ISIL-affiliate and claimed the lives of 38 including 30 British tourists.

Prime Minister David Cameron and the Defense Secretary, Michael Fallon indicated that they would seek the parliamentary approval for anti-ISIL campaign in Syria. Fallon said: There’s illogicality about targeting ISIS in Iraq but not in Syria. The PM office said: “Thought and deliberation are needed before a vote”.

RAF pilots on anti-ISIL mission in Iraq

So, why the British government would keep lawmakers in dark while deputing the RAF pilot on the Syria mission. Some analysts say the policies of keeping public and pressure groups in dark about the action in Syria and Iraq are mainly because the government doesn’t want people to see this as a war.

“You have to remember that this government when held a vote about the strike and military action in Syria, it was voted against. Thing then brought wes that Britain has to protect its interest; it doesn’t mean people’s interests rather its own imperial interest. And that means they have to go to war”, Nadim said.

Jennifer Gibson of Reprieve said: “It is alarming that parliament and the public have been kept in the dark about this for so long.

Michael Fallon, Defense Secretary

The revelation marks a substantial expansion in Britain’s approach to Syria and has caused an outcry among many politicians. 

Tory MP, John Baron, who is also a member of the foreign affairs select committee, has called for an immediate halt to the action in Syria. “Let’s be absolutely clear about this. We voted in 2013, when parliament had been recalled from recess, that there should be no British military intervention in Syria. We were told that No 10 had got the message and that any future intervention would be subject to a vote.

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