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Australia to extend air operations against Daesh into Syria



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JOINT PRESS RELEASE

THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MP, PRIME MINISTER THE HON. KEVIN ANDREWS MP, MINISTER FOR DEFENCE

AUSTRALIA TO EXTEND AIR OPERATIONS AGAINST DAESH INTO SYRIA

The Government has decided to extend Australia’s air strikes against Daesh into Syria.

This marks the next phase of Australia’s contribution to the international coalition effort to disrupt, degrade and ultimately defeat the Daesh death cult.

The decision to expand air operations into Syria has been given careful consideration.

It follows Iraq’s requests for international assistance to strike Daesh strongholds, and a formal request from the Obama Administration.

The legal basis for these operations is the collective self-defence of Iraq.

The Daesh death cult does not respect borders and threatens the security of Iraq and the international community from its safe havens in Syria.

Daesh controls a large amount of territory in eastern Syria that serves as a source of recruitment and oil revenues, and as a base from which it continues to launch attacks in both Syria and Iraq.

From Syria, Daesh has been able to operate training bases, conduct planning and preparation for attacks, and move fighters and materiel into, and out of, Iraq.

The extension of the Australian Defence Force’s operations into Syria will help protect Iraq and its people from Daesh attacks inside Iraq and from across the border in Syria.

The Daesh death cult is reaching out to Australians, as terrorist incidents and disrupted attacks here have demonstrated.

Australia joins a number of other nations - including the United States, Canada, Arab countries and Turkey - which are already contributing to the effort against Daesh in Syria.

Australia’s Air Task Group, deployed to the Middle East region, consists of six F/A-18 Hornet aircraft, a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport and an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft.

Australia remains committed to the international effort to counter Daesh, which threatens stability in Iraq and the Middle East and the security of Australians at home and in our region.

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As the Government has stated before, the size and nature of Australia’s overall commitment to defeat Daesh will remain under regular review.

This is a decision that is firmly in Australia’s national interest.

It reflects the Government’s steadfast commitment to keeping Australians safe from terrorism, preventing the spread of violent extremism to our shores and responding to a deepening humanitarian crisis.

9 September 2015