Speaking after the Counter-ISIL Coalition Conference in Paris, the Foreign Secretary has underlined the extent of the UK contribution to efforts to defeat ISIL in Iraq, and reasserted the longstanding view of the UK Government that Assad is an ISIL recruiting sergeant.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:
The Global Coalition is united and committed to defeating ISIL. Coalition intervention with airstrikes has halted ISIL’s precipitous advance. Action on the ground is gradually reducing the amount of territory they control. I am proud to say the UK has played a leading role, providing the second biggest overall contribution to airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq.
We discussed how best to increase our support to Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi and disrupt ISIL. We will continue to make a significant contribution to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance efforts. We must also stabilise areas liberated from ISIL’s control to ensure they are held. The UK will contribute to a new UN Development Programme fund to support stabilisation in Iraq.
While Assad remains in power, the fighting will not end; ISIL will continue to hold Syrian territory and the regime’s brutality against its own people – including the use of barrel bombs and chlorine gas against civilians – will continue to be one of the greatest recruiting sergeants for ISIL. Assad is part of the problem; he cannot be part of the solution.
ISIL: UK government response