The United Kingdom became the next country to join the war against the Islamic State group by voting on Wednesday Dec. 2 in Parliament to approve airstrikes in Syria, according to The New York Times. British lawmakers voted to go ahead with Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to launch an attack against the terrorist group in Syria by a vote of 397 to 223.
This was not an easy decision for the parliament, and only passed after many impassioned speeches from people for and against sending more Royal Air Force planes into the Middle East. The UK has had forces in Iraq since 2014 launching airstrikes against the Islamic State group; this vote has opened the airstrikes up to doing attacks in Syria as well.
Prime Minister Cameron was very much in support of this measure according to The Associated Press saying, “Do we work with our allies to degrade and destroy this threat and do we go after these terrorists in their heartlands, from where they are plotting to kill British people? Or do we sit back and wait for them to attack us?”
The strikes started the morning of Dec. 3 with six targets. British authorities say the attacks were “successfully” administered. Even attacking an Islamic State-controlled oilfield, according to the BBC.
The fight to defeat the Islamic State group is not going to be quick, Prime Minister Cameron warns. BBC reports he said fighting this enemy is going to require “patience.”
The Conservative Party, which holds the majority in Parliament, hopes to regain the status as a powerful global actor with these attacks, according to The New York Times.
Not all British citizens agree however, outside Parliament there were many protesters holding signs that said “Don’t Bomb Syria” The New York Times reported. The Labour Party, which is to the left of the Conservative Party, was divided on this issue. Jeremy Corbin, the new leader of this party, did not support these airstrikes and voted no, according to The New York Times.
However, many in his party did support the measure, including Hilary Benn who is the Party’s spokesman on foreign affairs according to the BBC. Because Benn supported the plan, Cameron got the majority he needed to get the plan off the ground.
According to The Associated Press, the Royal Air Force will be using Tornado and Typhoon fighter jets in the coming mssions. These fighter jets will hold Brimstone missiles that have the capability to hit moving targets. British authorities are hopeful that this will be the most accurate way to eradicate targets, and also reduce civilian casualties.
President Obama supports the British involvement in the war saying, according to The Associated Press, the Islamic State group is a “global threat that must be defeated by a global response.”
Editor’s Note: Information from The New York Times, The Associated Press and the BBC was used in this report.