Australia ended its direct involvement in air strikes against Islamic State militants (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria after a “hard and brutal” resistance.
Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne announced on Friday that the Air Force’s FA-18F Super Hornet jet would be brought back to Australia after the Iraqi Prime Minister declared victory in the war against a terrorist group that had declared the territory of ‘caliphate’ in Iraq and Syria.
ISIS recently suffered a loss from its last stronghold in Raqqa, which they claim to be “the capital”.
Up to 80 percent of the northern city of Syria is thought to have been destroyed in fighting between Kurdish-led forces and ISIS militants.
Senator Payne said Australia had made a significant contribution to the war against the ISIS group.
“Given the success that has been achieved on the battlefield by the Iraqi security forces, Australia’s contribution is now at a transitional point,” he said.
“After discussions with Iraq and members of the International Coalition, the Australian Government has decided to bring home six Super Hornet fighter jets from the Middle East.”
Payne said there was no doubt that the Australian air strike helped the Iraqi security forces in the field.
He explained that the involvement of the Australian military in Iraq will continue with the placement of aircraft surveillance and refueling in the region.
“We are present at the invitation of the Iraqi Government,” Senator Payne said.
“I recognize this is the effort of all parties involved in this resistance, it has been a long time, it is very difficult and has been brutal.”
The contribution of the Australian Defense Force (ADF) in the US-led coalition against the ISIS group in Iraq and Syria comprises about 780 ADF staff.
As part of the operation, the ADF deployed the Air Unit Group including six Super Hornets aircraft, the E-7A Wedgetail reconnaissance aircraft, and a multifunctional fuel filler.
Coalition aircraft carried thousands of attacks to support Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces.
But monitors claim thousands of civilians have been killed in the air strikes.
The Combined Task Force of the coalition camp says, only 0.35 percent of all “28,198 attacks involving 56,976 separate engagements” -who made between August 2014 and October 2017-produced credible reports of civilian casualties.