Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

An MQ-9 Reaper drone. (Photo: USAF/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson/public domain)

An MQ-9 Reaper drone. (Photo: USAF/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson/public domain)

In 'Subservience' to Washington, British Pilots Secretly Bombing Syria

Airstrikes are being conducted without parliamentary approval, Reprieve learned through a freedom of information request

Sarah Lazare

British pilots have been secretly carrying out airstrikes in Syria, despite the government's own pledge to hold a vote in parliament before launching bombardments in the country, the London-based human rights organization Reprieve discovered through a freedom of information request revealed Friday.

In the initial request, Reprieve asked the Ministry of Defense (MoD): "Have any UK military personnel conducted airstrikes in Syria or Iraq using non-UK equipment? If so, how many, where and using whose equipment?"

In response, the MoD said: "UK military personnel embedded with the USA, French and Canadian armed forces have been authorized to deploy with their units to participate in coalition operations against Isil. UK embeds operate as if they were the host nation’s personnel, under that nation’s chain of command. These personnel include pilots flying... strike missions against Isil targets using the equipment of those units. Of these three nations only the USA and Canada are operating in Syrian airspace."

The reply means that UK pilots have been involved in airstrikes in Syria, under the command of U.S. or Canadian forces.

The UK is participating in the bombings despite the fact that the House of Commons rejected military intervention in Syria in a vote two years ago. Moreover, Defense Secretary Michael Fallon previously pledged to hold a parliamentary vote before launching airstrikes in Syria, but no such vote has taken place.

"It is alarming that Parliament and the public have been kept in the dark about this for so long," said Jennifer Gibson, Reprieve staff attorney. "Yet more worrying is the fact that the UK seems to have turned over its personnel to the US wholesale, without the slightest idea as to what they are actually doing, and whether it is legal."

"We need an open and honest debate about UK involvement in Iraq and Syria," Gibson added. "We can’t have that, though, until the UK comes clean about what actions its personnel are already undertaking."

The UK has been carrying out airstrikes in Iraq since last September.

The Stop the War Coalition said Friday's revelations "reveal both the government's contempt for democracy and its subservience to Washington foreign policy."

"Stop the War demands the government publicly commits to an immediate end to British bombing of Syria," the organization continued. "More widely we call for an end to military and diplomatic support for Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen and for a stop to the bombing campaign in Iraq."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo