The UK has begun bombing Islamic State (Isis) targets in Syria after MPs backed the military action in a late vote in the House of Commons on 2 December. The Defence Secretary Michael Fallon confirmed on the morning of 3 December that four RAF Tornado jets based in Cyprus had carried out operations in the Middle Eastern nation.
"The vote last night freed the RAF up," the top Tory told BBC Breakfast. "They've been able to attack these terrorists on one side of the border, now they are free to attack some of their key targets on the other side of the border as well. I approved a series of targets in the Omar oil fields from which the oil production is derived, this helps to finance Daesh [Isis]."
The move comes after MPs voted 397 to 223 to approve David Cameron's plan to launch air strikes on the jihadists in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, which left at least 130 people dead. The prime minister argued that it was wrong for Britain to "outsource" its security to other countries and warned that the terrorists had plotted to attack innocent people in the UK.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn notably opposed the plan and gave his MPs a free vote on the issue after significant pressure from his shadow cabinet. The former chair of the Stop the War Coalition said he was unconvinced by Cameron's proposal and warned that air strikes could kill more Syrian civilians, while worsening the ongoing refugee crisis.
But his shadow foreign secretary, Hilary Benn, won plaudits for his impassioned speech for military action. "As a party we have always been defined by our internationalism, we believe we have a responsibility one to another, we never have and we never should walk by on the other side of the road, and we are here faced by fascists," Benn said.
"Not just their calculated brutality, but their belief that they are superior to every single one of us in this chamber tonight and all of the people that we represent. They hold us in contempt. They hold our values in content. They hold our beliefs of tolerance and decency in contempt.
"They hold our democracy, the means by which we will make our decision tonight, in contempt. And what we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated."
The SNP, who attempted to block Cameron's plan from passing through parliament, claimed that Scotland had been "dragged" to war. Angus Robertson MP, the leader of the nationalists at Westminster, said: "UK parliament gave the green light to continue a complex and deadly conflict without a comprehensive plan for peace and reconstruction.
"Despite 72% of Scots being opposed, and the vast majority of Scottish MPs voting against, we will likely see planes deployed from Lossiemouth to drop bombs on the region. In normal circumstances, in a normal country, the armed forces would not be deployed.
"We are all committed to destroying Daesh – it is about how best we do that. David Cameron has neither answered the questions about where the 70,000 ground forces are coming from, or given an insight into any plan on how to stabilise and rebuild the region.
"The UK Government is going to have a huge problem with legitimacy and mandate for this operation in Syria from the people of Scotland. Quite simply the case for bombing Syria has not been made.''