World Bulletin/News Desk
Anti-war activists have criticized a decision by the U.K. government to fly surveillance missions over Syria using drones.
Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced earlier on Tuesday that Reaper remotely piloted aircraft systems and Rivet Joint aircraft would be authorized to fly surveillance missions to monitor the conflict on the ground with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants.
The ministry said in a statement: "The deployment will see the Royal Air Force aircraft gathering intelligence as the U.K. ramps up efforts to protect our national interests from the terrorist threat emanating from the country."
But U.K-based anti-war organization Stop the War Coalition accused the British government was dragging the country into a wider war in the Middle East region which the public were opposed to.
'Wider war' fears
One of the organization's founders, Chris Nineham, told Anadolu Agency: "This is definitely the kind of escalation that we feared.
"Last year parliament voted against western intervention in Syria, now the government is ordering precisely that."
He went on: "It shows that we are drifting into a wider war in the Middle East and the escalation can only inflame the situation.
"This kind of western intervention can only turn what is a disastrous situation into a regional war. This is moving more and more in the direction to a divided region which is at war with itself."
British lawmakers voted 524 - 43 for air strikes on ISIL targets in Iraq on September 26.
The UK has launched various strikes against ISIL in Iraq since the measure was voted.
However, for military strikes in Syria, Prime Minister David Cameron said he would seek parliamentary approval.
It is understood Reaper drones will fly alongside Rivet Joint spy planes, which carry eavesdropping sensors.
The Reaper can be armed, but does not have authorization to fire.
The drones were used in Afghanistan, but have since been moved to a secret location in the Middle East.
ISIL has captured large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria, declaring what it calls a cross-border Islamic "caliphate," killing thousands of people and displacing millions in the two countries.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Ekim 2014, 16:54