An RAF captain has said he is “absolutely confident” that there will be no civilian casualties as air strikes were launched over Syria.
As the first British aircraft were sent within hours of MPs voting to back the strikes, Captain Richard Davies, of RAF Marham, told the BBC: “In over 400 air strikes that the RAF has carried out in Iraq, we have had absolutely no civilian casualties reported.
“The rules of engagement that our crews apply both in the air and by the commanders on the ground mean that I am absolutely confident that that will continue to be the case with operations in Syria.”
RAF Marham is preparing to send two jets to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. A further six are expected to arrive from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, doubling the strike force already at the base.
Tornado fighter bombers have been attacking IS targets in Iraq since September last year when MPs gave the green light for air strikes.
Captain Davies’s comments follow a warning by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the lead-up to last night’s vote that the move would “almost inevitably lead to the deaths of innocents”.