09 Jan 2018

Defence Secretary makes first visit to Iraq

The Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has made his first visit to Iraq and took the opportunity to praise UK service personnel as British airstrikes continue to wipe out Daesh.

RAF aircraft carried out operations against the terrorist group every day over the Christmas period, striking terrorist compounds, trucks, mortars and pockets of fighters engaged in close quarter, street fighting with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

RAF aircraft have carried out over 1,700 strikes against Daesh in Iraq and Syria since 2014 and in his first visit to Cyprus, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson also met the crews who are playing a vital role in the coalition campaign to totally defeat Daesh.

Fast jets flying out of RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and remotely piloted Reaper aircraft continue to provide support to the SDF on the ground who are clearing the last remaining pockets of Daesh terrorists in Eastern Syria.

Typhoons, Tornados and Reapers worked closely with coalition partners, offering vital intelligence and close air support throughout December, destroying Daesh targets near Abu Kamal, Abu Hardub and Abu Hammam.

Mr Williamson also visited UK personnel in Taji and Baghdad, as well as Kuwait, praising their efforts as part of the UK’s contribution to the global coalition fight Daesh.

He commented: “The dangers we face are changing and are intensifying rapidly. Eliminating the threat from terrorism is critical to our security at home and abroad. Our brave Armed Forces are working tirelessly, day and night, to defeat Daesh after helping to recover significant territory in Iraq.

“Only by defeating this evil and barbaric group for good will we reduce the deadly threat they pose to us, which is why we won’t stop until their global network is destroyed.”

image © Crown Copyright

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