Britain increases Iraq anti-IS effort with 250 military personnel

Britain increases Iraq anti-IS effort with 250 military personnel
The UK set to almost double its presence in the country it officially ended operations in eight years ago.
2 min read
01 July, 2016
British military personnel will provide technical assistance and training [Getty]

The United Kingdom is set to ramp up its presence in Iraq by sending 250 military personnel to help the country's struggle against the Islamic State group.

British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon described the move as a "significant contribution" in the fight against the IS group in a statement written to the UK parliament

"Our strike aircraft have now conducted around 900 airstrikes against Daesh targets in Iraq and Syria and our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft provide niche and highly-valued capabilities," he said, using the Arabic name for IS.

The bulk of the personnel will be stationed at the Al Asad airbase in western Iraq, which is 100 miles west of the capital Baghdad.

This group will include 50 trainers, 90 soldiers to protect the base and 30 to set up the headquarters. Some 80 engineers will also work on infrastructure in the war-torn country for six months.

At present, around 300 British personnel are already Iraq helping to train Iraqi and Kurdish forces. The new deployment will cause the UK's presence in the country where it officially ended operations in 2009 to almost double.

"On the ground, our forces have helped to train more than 18,000 members of the Iraqi security forces, including Kurdish forces," Fallon continued in his statement.

"As Iraqi forces continue to regain territory and begin preparatory operations to retake Mosul, it is important that the coalition continues to provide the support needed to allow them to make further progress."

British anti-IS efforts