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02 Sep 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The MoD’s Intimidation Policy supports all locally employed staff including interpreters; regardless of the nature, date and duration of their employment. (Written Answer (WA), 2 Sep 13.)
51 Squadron personnel routinely deploy and fly missions on US Rivet Joint aircraft in support of OP HERRICK. (WA, 2 Sep 13.)
UK Force levels will reduce from 9,000 to 6,000 from this Autumn and to about 5,200 by the end of 2013. (Oral Answer (OA), 2 Sep 13.)
All UK and US Reaper sorties are launched and recovered by the US Air Force 62 Expeditionary Response Squadron, which is manned by both UK and US Air Force personnel. (WA, 4 Sep 13.)
UK Forces in Afghanistan operate unmanned aircraft systems to provide Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) with Hermes 450, Desert Hawk III, T-Hawk, Black Hornet and Reaper systems. Reaper is the only armed system. Between 1 Jan 08 and 31 Jul 13, 3,745 sorties were flown with weapons being released on 299 (8%) occasions. (WA, 5 Sep 13.)
UK troops no longer have a routine presence in the Nad-e Ali District as Afghan Forces have assumed full security for the area. (Task Force Helmand, 6 Sep 13.)
Comment: The House of Commons Defence Committee announced (6 Sep 13) that it is to conduct a new Inquiry to examine the security situation in Afghanistan, including the progress of withdrawal of UK Forces and equipment. The Committee expects to take oral evidence towards the end of 2013 and has asked for written evidence to be submitted by 18 Oct 13. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/35, 09 Sep 13)

03 Sep 13. Syria: International Leaders Meet. The UN has announced that there are now two million Syrian refugees in the region. The UK is already the second largest donor, supporting more than 900,000 Syrians…. (OA, 3 Sep 13.)
The package of chemical weapons protective equipment announced by the Foreign Secretary on 16 Jul 13 has now arrived in the region and is ready for onward delivery. (WA, 4 Sep 13.)
All licences for chemicals to Syria between 2003 and the start of the conflict have been reviewed. Five licences were issued, which were all for sodium fluoride for use in cosmetic products. There was no reason to link the end users with Syria’s chemical weapons programme. (WA, 5 Sep 13.)
In a meeting with the President of the Syrian National Coalition of Opposition, the Foreign Secretary underlined
UK support and its commitment to a political solution to end the bloodshed. (FCO, 5 Sep 13.)
The Prime Minister called for unimpeded access for aid agencies delivering life-saving supplies inside Syria.
The UK is providing £52m in humanitarian funding, bringing the UK’s total to £400m. (PM’s Office, 6 Sep 13.)
International leaders issued a Joint Statement on Syria (6 Sep 13) in which they condemned “in the strongest terms the horrific chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21st that claimed the lives of so many men, women and children. The evidence clearly points to the Syrian Government being responsible for the attacks….” (The White House, 6 Sep 13.)
Comment: The Leaders and Representatives who signed the Joint Statement (6 Sep 13) are from: Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Korea (RoK), Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US. The US Department of State announced (7 Sep 13) that Secretary Kerry is travelling to Vilnius, Paris and London between 6 and 9 Sep 13. Secretary Kerry is due in London on 8/9 Sep 13, holding a Press Conference with the Foreign Secretary on the second day. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/35, 09 Sep 13)

02 Sep 13. Gibraltar: Wishes of the People Respected. In a Written Stat

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