For Immediate Release
Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8140
UK Pilots Conducted Strikes in Syria
LONDON - British personnel have already conducted air strikes in Syria, despite the Government’s claim that there would be a vote in Parliament before any such action took place, new research by human rights organisation Reprieve has revealed.
A Freedom of Information request submitted by Reprieve to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) found that UK personnel embedded with US and other forces “operating in Syrian airspace” “include pilots flying…Strike missions”.
Previously, UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon had indicated that the House of Commons would have the final say before Britain expanded its programme of air strikes to Syria.
Jennifer Gibson, staff attorney at Reprieve said:
“Documents obtained by Reprieve indicate that UK personnel have already been involved in bombing missions over Syria for some time – making the current debate over whether Britain should carry out such strikes somewhat obsolete. It is alarming that Parliament and the public have been kept in the dark about this for so long.
“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. We can’t have that, though, until the UK comes clean about what actions its personnel are already undertaking."
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Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.