Home > Publications > Open Briefing: UK actions against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria: Intelligence briefing #2

As MPs prepare to vote on extending UK military action against Islamic State from Iraq to Syria, Open Briefing has launched a new series of monthly intelligence briefings on UK actions in the two countries.

Funded by the Network for Social Change, these briefings will use the latest open source intelligence in order to identify British military actions against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and analyse the military and political developments behind them. The briefings are published in order to inform debate on the issue and to ensure any military action is accountable. They are prepared each month by an analytical team led by a former British Army intelligence officer with 30 years experience in intelligence.

Summary of main points

  1. During December 2015, the RAF assisted Iraqi forces fighting Islamic State in and around Haditha, Ramadi and Fallujah and Kurdish forces fighting in Mosul, Al-Qayyarah, Bayji, Sinjar, Kisik and Tal Afar.
  2. On 2 December, the UK parliament voted in favour of authorising British airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria.
  3. The RAF has since targeted well heads within the Omar oil field in Syria and undertaken multiple missions around the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital, Raqqa, including destroying a command and control centre.
  4. On 3 January, Islamic State released a video featuring a militant with a British accent mocking the impact of UK airstrikes, threatening attacks on the United Kingdom and executing five men accused of spying for the British.
  5. A key issue in the build-up to the vote in the UK parliament was the risk posed to innocent civilians in the areas of Iraq and Syria targeted by the RAF.
  6. The British government and Ministry of Defence have repeatedly stated that there is no evidence of civilian casualties from UK military action against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
  7. However, it is fair to estimate that between 40 and 125 civilians may have been killed in UK airstrikes against Islamic State so far.

Read the report