Going down fighting: British pilots will carry handguns should they begin anti-Daesh airstrikes in Syria

Published December 1st, 2015 - 01:20 GMT

Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots will be given handguns to defend themselves against ISIS militants on the ground if they are asked to bomb Syria, it has been reported.

MPs are to vote on whether Britain begins bombing ISIS [Daesh] targets in the war-torn country tomorrow.

But it has now emerged that pilots asked to carry out those raids could be armed in the event their plane is shot down.

Last week, a Russian pilot was thought to have been killed by Syrian rebels when his plane was shot down by Turkey near the Syrian border.

Although the RAF do not always issue their pilots with guns, a source has revealed they could be armed with Glock or Browning pistols if Britain begins bombing Syria.

Speaking to Mail Online, a RAF source said: “The decision on whether RAF pilots will carry handguns is taken on a case by case basis.

“But in previous conflicts where the RAF has been flying over hostile territory, pilots are asked to wear conflict survival jackets, which contain sidearms."

The guns will help pilots defend themselves on the ground if they were faced with ISIS militants.

The group is known to carry out gruesome killings which are often shown in video and posted on social media sites.

Last week, a huge crisis eruped when Turkey shot down a Russian jet close to the Syrian border.

Turkey claimed the jet had entered its airspace. However, Russia said it was flying in Syria at the time.

Dramatic footage showed the two pilots parachuting to the ground.

One pilot was rescued from woodland following a dramatic overnight rescue mission from Russian special forces.

However, a second was thought to have been killed by Syrian rebels after parachuting to the ground.

The Ministry of Defence has not yet commented on claims RAF pilots could be armed with handguns.

By Anthony Bond

Copyright © 2021 Trinity Mirror Group

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