Australian forces this week began bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq as part of a US-led mission against the group. But what exactly is Australia's role? Here's a closer look at the international mission.
How many countries are in the Coalition?
The anti-Islamic-State Coalition is led by the United States and is thought to include more than 60 counties, although the exact number is unclear.
The also Coalition includes two non-states with the European Union and Arab League among its partners.
Canada this week announced it would join the mission and would be sending nine military aircraft and more than 600 personnel into Iraq.
The US State Department website lists the following countries being involved with the Coalition but notes the list is incomplete
Republic of Korea
What have they signed up for?
The State Department website says each coalition partner has committed themselves to "the goals of eliminating the threat posed by ISIL and have already contributed in various capacities to the effort to combat ISIL in Iraq, the region and beyond."
Furthermore, it says US Secretary of State has outlined five "lines of effort" to defeating the Islamic State.
- Providing military support to our partners;
- Impeding the flow of foreign fighters;
- Stopping ISIL's financing and funding;
- Addressing humanitarian crises in the region; and
- Exposing ISIL's true nature.
What is Australia's role?
Australia is providing military support and assisting with air strikes, alongside the UK, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands. It was today announced that Australian forces had dropped bombs on an IS target overnight, the first time it had fired at a target since joining the mission.
International ground forces, including from Australia, have not been ruled out.
Australia's participation, called Operation OKRA, includes:
- six F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jets
- Surveillance aircraft
- Tanker and transport aircraft
- 200 special forces soldiers
- 400 military support staff
Australia has also committed to provide $5 million in humanitarian aid.
What are others partner countries doing?
The United States
The United States is leading the mission and has deployed F-22 Raptor and F-18 Super Hornet jets from bases in the Middle East.
The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has joined the mission after a 524 to 43 Parliamentary vote last Friday. The United Kingdom will assist in air strikes in Iraq but will not enter Syria.
Saudi Arabia has so far joined the coalition in airstrikes over Syria and provided $500 million in humanitarian aid.
French forces have taken part in airstrikes in Iraq alongside other coalition partners. French planes have also made humanitarian drops over Iraq and flown reconnaissance missions.
United Arab Emirates
The UAE is assisting with airstrikes in Syria.
Countries providing humanitarian aid
- South Korea
- New Zealand