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RAF captain 'absolutely confident' there will be no civilian casualties

An RAF captain has said he is "absolutely confident" there will be no civilian casualties as air strikes were launched over Syria.

Captain Richard Davies, of RAF Marham in Norfolk said: "In over 400 air strikes that the RAF has carried out in Iraq, we have had absolutely no civilian casualties reported.

The rules of engagement that our crews apply both in the air and by the commanders on the ground mean that I am absolutely confident that that will continue to be the case with operations in Syria."

Tornado fighter bombers have been attacking IS targets in Iraq since September last year when MPs gave the green light for air strikes.

Captain Davies's comments follow a warning by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the lead-up to last night's vote that the move would "almost inevitably lead to the deaths of innocents".

RAF Tornado jets hit targets in Syria

The MOD has confirmed its Tornado jets have launched their first bombing raids in Syria.

A Ministry Of Defence spokesman confirmed RAF Tornados had returned from their "first offensive operation over Syria and have conducted strikes".

Two more jets from RAF Marham in Norfolk have joined the action this morning.

See RAF video of Tornado jets leaving Cyprus on bombing mission:

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More jets leave RAF Marham for Cyprus.

Credit: PA

Two more Tornado jets have left RAF Marham this morning for Cyprus.

They'll join those from the base already at RAF Akrotiri.

Tornado fighter bombers have been attacking IS targets in Iraq since September last year when MPs gave the green light for air strikes last night.

An oilfield in eastern Syria was the target of overnight RAF airstrikes, the Defence Secretary, has confirmed.

PM: Defence review 'very good' for RAF Marham

The Prime Minister says the government's review of defence spending is good news for RAF Marham in Norfolk.

A Tornado aircraft based at RAF Marham in west Norfolk. Credit: ITV News Anglia

David Cameron has announced £12 billion for military equipment in a Strategic Defence and Security Review. The SDSR set out heavily-trailed plans for two new Army 5,000-strong "strike brigades" capable of deploying rapidly around the world.

RAF Marham is the home to the Tornado force and the future home of the Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

The Prime Minister said the additional defence spending would mean more Lightning aircraft, more quickly. He was answering a question in the House of Commons from the North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham.

"Will the Prime Minister confirm that today’s statement is good news for RAF Marham, the home of the Tornado force and the future home of Lightning II?

Obviously the Tornadoes and Brimstone missiles are playing a vital role in the campaign against Daesh, but does he agree that there is now an overwhelming case for extending those strikes into Syria itself?"

– Henry Bellingham, Conservative MP for NW Norfolk

Families greet Tornado crews following final mission in Afghanistan

Servicemen and women from RAF Marham have returned home following their final operation in Afghanistan.

The force has been there since July 2009 and in that time has played an important role in coalition combat missions.

The final ground troops pulled out of Camp Bastion in Helmand province last month.

As the Tornado jets flew into West Norfolk, family of the 170 ground and air crew were there to meet them.

Tanya Mercer reports

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RAF Marham servicemen and women return from Afghanistan

Tornado jets on the ground in Afghanistan. Credit: Ministry of Defence.

Servicemen and women from RAF Marham who have been supporting NATO operations in Afghanistan have arrived home.

The Tornado jets landed at their West Norfolk base where the crew's family were waiting to meet them.

In total, 170 servicemen and women, including ground crew, are returning.

For more on the squadron's return home, watch Sunday evening's ITV News Anglia at 6.30pm.

RAF Marham Tornados fly home from Afghanistan

Tornado GR4s from RAF Marham in Norfolk have left Afghanistan and are heading back to the UK after more than five years of operations in the country.

Tornados leaving Afghanistan Credit: Ministry of Defence

The fast jets, from 31 Squadron based at RAF Marham flew out of Kandahar airfield early this morning having flown their final missions.

Tornado on the ground Credit: MoD

Aircrew and ground crew from the squadron have provided vital support to NATO efforts in the country since they took over from RAF Harriers in June 2009.

During its time in Afghanistan, the Tornado GR4 has provided vital information about enemy activity on the ground, using the Litening III and RAPTOR reconnaissance pods to spot potential hazards such as roadside bombs.

The jets have also provided close air support deterring enemy forces by flying low and fast over their location or striking important targets with precision when necessary to do so.

– MoD spokesperson
'Tornado force' Credit: MoD

The Tornado remains the fast jet workhorse of the RAF and has performed superbly over many years in Afghanistan, supplying life saving intelligence and precision weapons in support of our mission there.

The whole Tornado force should be proud or their work and I pay tribute to their professionalism.

– Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon

Air and ground crew will now make their way via RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, to RAF Marham where they will be welcomed home by friends and family.

Norfolk aircraft fly missions over Iraq

A Tornado taking off in Cyprus

RAF reconnaissance aircraft from Norfolk have begun flying missions over Iraq.

A Marham Tornado prepares for a sortie

Six Tornado warplanes from Marham near King's Lynn have been sent to the British airbase at Akrotiri in Cyprus.

Each aircraft has a crew of two

They've been flying surveillance missions over Northern Iraq to pinpoint the location of refugees in need of relief supplies as they flee from extremist forces who've forced them to leave their homes.

The RAF base at Akrotiri
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