The four Danish F-16 fighter jets sent to fight the militant group ISIS have entered combat in Syria for the first time, hitting targets in the Islamic group’s self-styled capital, Raqqa.
“We can confirm that the Danish fighters for the first time attacked targets in Syrian territory,” Jan Dam, who heads the Danish Air Force’s international operations, told Denmark’s Ritzau news agency.
The four jets, which have been stationed at Turkey’s Incirlik airbase since June 17, have so far been flying surveillance and reconnaissance missions over Syria with combat missions limited to Iraq.
Although he wouldn’t go into details, Dam said that the recent attacks on the Raqqa area had, amongst other targets, been directed at ISIS’s command and control facilities.
Defence Command Denmark, the command centre for Denmark’s armed forces told Reuters that the attacks had also targeted weapons stocks and enemy personnel.
The four Danish aircraft have already flown missions in the Al Anbar, Nineveh, Dohuk, Erbil and Salah Ad Din provinces of Iraq, dispatching 93 bombs in a total 67 missions since June 17.
According to a press release, 100 Danish soldiers have also recently arrived at the Al Asad airbase in Iraq’s Al Anbar province to train Iraqi security forces, replacing an existing team which was come to an end of a six-month tour.
The Danish Air Force stressed that despite the greater risk of civilian casualties in Syria, there were “no indications that the Danish F-16 missions in Operation Inherent Resolve would be to blame for unintended civilian casualties.”
Defence Minister Peter Christensen (V) has acknowledged that the risk of civilian casualties would be greater in Syria than in previous Danish bombing raids over Iraq.
According to Defence Command Denmark there were “no indications that the Danish F-16 missions in Operation Inherently Resolve would be to blame for unintended civilian casualties.”
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