UK on bombing campaign against Islamic State

Demonstrators lay on the road as they participate in a "die-in" during a protest outside the Houses of Parliament in central London on December 2, 2015, against the British government's proposed involvement in air strikes against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria. Britain's parliament looks set to vote in favour of joining air strikes on Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Syria despite angry exchanges which have exposed deep divisions on military action.

British war planes have carried out the first air strikes against the Islamic State, IS, in Syria, confirms the Ministry of Defence.

The strikes targeted the Omar oil fields in eastern Syria, which is under IS control, and were “successful”, says Defence Secretary Michael Fallon. He had personally approved the targets ahead of the Commons vote, he says.

On Wednesday, MPs voted by 397 votes to 223 for UK military action against IS in Syria after a 10-hour Commons debate.

Fallon said the Ministry of Defence would be assessing the damage done by the bombing later, but the aim was to strike “a very real blow on the oil and revenue on which Daesh depends”.

Fallon confirmed that eight more jets – two Tornados and six Typhoons – were being sent to Akrotiri in Cyprus to join the offensive.

Fallon said the there was a “very rigorous” process by which targets were chosen, and all British military action would adhere to “very strict rules of engagement”.

The Defence Secretary did not say how long the attacks would go on, but that it would “not be quick”.