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Middle East

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN 213743, tabled on 6 November 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department is continuing to implement a zero casualty policy in support of the airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and ISIL.

Answered on

18 November 2014

The UK seeks to avoid civilian casualties while undertaking airstrikes against ISIL targets. All airstrikes are conducted in accordance with International Humanitarian Law, following the principles of distinction, humanity, proportionality and military necessity. The UK's clearly defined Rules of Engagement are formulated on this basis. The same strict Rules of Engagement that govern the use of manned military aircraft also apply to remotely piloted aircraft systems. Careful selection and approval of targets before a strike, together with the use of precision guided weapons, minimises collateral damage and the potential for civilian casualties. This contrasts sharply with ISIL's brutal disregard for human life.