Britain will increase its training support to Iraqi forces taking the fight to Daesh, the Defence Secretary has announced today.
Expanding the significant capacity building mission already underway, the UK will send around 50 additional trainers to the Al Asad Airbase in Western Iraq to provide instruction on countering improvised explosive devices (c-IED), infantry skills and combat first aid. The extra trainers will be working closely with US and Danish forces, providing training to the Iraqi Army 7th Division, Border Guards and Federal Police from behind the wire.
UK personnel in the region have already helped to train more than 18,000 members of the Iraqi security forces (ISF), including Kurdish forces, in Besmaya, Erbil and Taji.
The deployment is part of a broader response across coalition countries to a call at the Counter Daesh Ministerial meeting in May to accelerate the campaign following recent progress in key cities such as Ramadi, Hit and Fallujah.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
Iraqi forces have Daesh on the back foot and are retaking territory, hitting its finances and striking its leadership.
This deployment will help the Iraqi forces to build on this success and push them back further.
As well as the extra training personnel, the UK will also provide around 90 personnel to assist with guarding the airbase, and around 30 personnel to form a Head Quarter staff to help command the mission. In addition an engineering squadron will deploy for around six months to build necessary infrastructure to support the deployment.
The deployment will add to the UK personnel currently supporting the multinational effort against Daesh, currently numbering over 1,100, including around 295, already involved in training Iraqi forces at Al Asad Airbase, Erbil, Besmayah and Taji. RAF aircraft have carried out around 900 strikes against Daesh from their base in Akrotiri, Cyprus.
The Defence Secretary also confirmed that Britain will provide Kurdish Peshmerga fighters with a further £1.4 million worth of ammunition.