British troop numbers in Iraq are set to rise with the deployment of additional troops to the country, the MoD have announced.
According to the Ministry of Defence, 44 additional Royal Engineers will deploy to Al Asad Airbase in August, increasing the UK footprint there to over 300 and bringing the total number of British troops in Iraq to over 600.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, said:
“We are stepping up our contribution to the fight against Daesh and fulfilling Britain’s role as a key player in the global coalition.
Daesh is being defeated. Iraqi forces, backed by coalition airstrikes, have now liberated 70% of the territory Daesh held and the victims of its barbarism are being helped by our humanitarian support. These extra troops will help support operations to bring the defeat of Daesh a step closer.”
According to a press release, the troops will primarily be training Iraqi forces:
“The deployment will increase the number of UK personnel currently supporting the multinational effort against Daesh to over 600.
They are primarily involved in training Iraqi security forces in battle winning infantry, counter-IED, engineering and combat medical skills, with over 58,000 Iraqis trained so far. In addition to personnel on the ground in Iraq, RAF aircraft have carried out around 1400 strikes against Daesh from their base in Akrotiri, Cyprus.”
Royal Air Force combat aircraft are also engaged in a campaign to fight Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria.
It was reported yesterday that two mixed pairs of Typhoons and Tornados supported Iraqi forces fighting around Tal Afar in northern Iraq on Monday.
In the east of the country, Brimstone missiles were used to destroy two pick-up trucks carrying terrorists, while an attack with a Paveway IV guided bomb destroyed a car-bomb to the south-west according to the MoD.