Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne on Friday declared an end to the nation’s airstrike operations in Syria and Iraq, although she admitted the challenge was not over yet, local media reported.
The decision was taken, Payne said, after consultations with Iraq and the international coalition fighting the terror group Daesh, according to The Australian, a newspaper.
The Australian government has determined that we will bring home our six Super Hornet strike aircraft from the Middle East, marking the end of Australia’s air strike operations in Iraq and Syria,” she told reporters.
Our six F/A-18F Super Hornets will return home in January marking the end of Australia’s successful air strike operations in Iraq and Syria.
— Royal Australian Air Force (@AusAirForce) December 22, 2017
Payne said the broad battle was “most certainly” over, but Australia would not underestimate the efforts that Daesh might still make, she added.
“They will continue to support the Iraqi Security Forces and counter-terrorism service in their work to ensure that Daesh is precluded from taking any further hold,” Payne noted.