The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that the Islamic State (Isis) is "being defeated" after killing 1,700 militants in air strikes in Iraq and Syria. The MoD claims it has conducted 1,066 strikes against Isis with "detailed assessments" revealing no civilian losses.
It added that 1,571 fighters have been killed in Iraq and 181 jihadists killed in Syria since parliament voted to begin air strikes in December 2015. The UK has been operating in Iraq with assistance from the government, in contrast to Syria.
"Daesh (Isis) is being defeated. It is being driven back. It now occupies less than 10% of Iraqi territory. So two years on we're making significant progress. This remains a hard fight. Yet Britain will not waiver in our efforts to defeat the evil of our age," Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said, according to the Daily Mail:
But Syria has come under increasing attack from the Royal Air Force (RAF) and in August 2016, they claimed to have killed 108 militants as Kurdish-led rebel forces liberated the city of Manbij, in Aleppo province. The two-month battle for the small city led to a defining victory for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The MoD said that due to the nature of the conflict in the self-declared caliphate they cannot be completely accurate as to how many persons they had killed. They said: "They are estimated figures based on post-strike analysis."
However, if no civilians had been killed in their operations it would be "unprecedented in the history of modern warfare" said Airwars Director Chris Woods, who monitors international air strikes. The RAF are flying Typhoons, Tornadoes and Reaper drones over the war zone.
Airwars, which monitors the US-led western bombing campaign against the extremists, said claims that no civilians have been killed are equivalent to those being made by Russia in the conflict. Director Chris Woods said they had raised 35 incidents of concern between January and July with the MoD.
"Where we have more concern with the MoD is its assertion, an aggressive assertion at times, that they have killed no civilians in the war in Iraq and Syria despite more than 1,000 air strikes. That would be unprecedented in the history of warfare," he added according to the Mirror.