Australian warplanes make first air strike in Syria

A U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II waits for his wingman after being air to air refueled by a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft

Sydney (AFP) – Australian fighter jets have carried out their first air strike against Islamic State group in Syria, destroying an armoured personnel carrier, Defence Minister Kevin Andrews said Wednesday.

“This is part of our logical extension in the fight against Daesh to operate not just over northern Iraq but also to operate over eastern Syria in order to degrade and destroy Daesh Forces,” the minister told reporters using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

A Royal Australian Air Force Hornet fighter destroyed an IS armoured personnel carrier with a precision-guided missile two days ago, Andrews said.

The United States, Canada, Turkey and Gulf states have already been involved in strikes on IS militants in Syria.

Australia joined the US-led coalition fighting IS in Iraq last year but last week extended air operations into Syria, saying the legal basis was the collective self-defence of Iraq against the jihadist group which does not respect borders.

Australian aircraft completed their first operation in Syria on Friday but did not attack any targets.

Britain killed two jihadists in a drone attack in Syria last week.