30 Jun 16. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 16 Jun 16 Tornados and a Reaper attacked six Daesh positions North of Bayji, while Typhoons provided
close support over Fallujah. On the next day, a Reaper engaged another target North of Bayji as Typhoons attacked terrorist positions in Northern Syria and Fallujah. On 24 Jun 16 Tornados and a Reaper attacked
Daesh equipment in Northern Iraq as Typhoons continued to conduct air support over Fallujah. A Reaper destroyed three targets in Northern Iraq on 25 Jun 16 while on the following day Tornados, Typhoons and a Reaper destroyed their targets in the West and North of Iraq. (MoD, 27 Jun 16.)
On 27 & 28 Jun 16 Typhoons provided close air support to Syrian forces fighting in Manbij and a Reaper assisted Iraqi ground forces near Sharqat. Typhoons and two Reapers engaged terrorists retreating from
Fallujah as a third Reaper continued to assist ground forces near Sharqat on 29 Jun 16. (MoD, 30 Jun 16.)
The Defence Secretary delivered a Written Statement about OP SHADER to the House of Commons (30 Jun 16). 50 additional trainers are to be sent to the Al Asad Air Base in Iraq; to provide instruction on countering improvised explosive devices, Infantry skills and combat first aid. The UK is also to provide around 90 personnel to assist with guarding the Air Base and about 30 to form a Headquarters staff. In addition, an Engineering Squadron will deploy for some six months “to build necessary infrastructure to support the deployment”. The extra trainers will be working closely with US and Danish Forces at Al Asad. The MoD is also to provide the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq with a supply of ammunition: both for machine guns and sniper rifles (the weapons having already been supplied).
Comment: On 27 Jun 16 the US Defense Secretary congratulated the Iraqi Prime Minister and the people of Iraq for freeing the city of Fallujah, stating that: “The United States military and our coalition partners are proud to have supported the Iraqi security forces”. The deployment now announced by the UK Defence Secretary is in addition to the 1,100 plus personnel already deployed to the region. Some 900 air strikes against Daesh targets in Iraq and Syria have also been conducted. In addition, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft “provide niche and highly valued capabilities.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/26, 04 Jul 16)
29 Jun 16. Mediterranean: OP SOPHIA. The Prime Minister made a Statement (29 Jun 16) about the previous day’s European Council. In his Statement, the Prime Minister noted that the UK continues to play a leading role in OP SOPHIA with HMS ENTERPRISE and he also announced that RFA Mounts Bay was to be deployed “to stop the flow of weapons to terrorists, particularly Daesh, in Libya.”.
A Written Statement by the FCO (30 Jun 16) confirmed the Council’s decision “to extend and expand OP SOPHIA’s mandate to boost the capability of the Libyan Coast Guard to help stem the flow of illegal migration and to combat arms trafficking.”.
Comment: OP SOPHIA is said to have already saved about 15,000 lives and to have destroyed over 120 smuggling vessels. The Operation’s additional tasking is designed to limit Daesh’s freedom of movement. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/26, 04 Jul 16)
27 Jun 16. Tunisia: Training Assistance. The Defence Secretary announced (27 Jun 16) that UK military support to counter-IED training in Tunisia has been extended for an additional year. Separately, the UK is to provide three specialist training courses for the Tunisian National Guard.
Comment: The small training team deployed in March 2015, helping to bring “structure and clarity” to training at the Explosive Ordnance Device School in Tunisia which now offers 14 different courses. The specialist training courses are to last for a month and focus on medical training, small boat handling and security operations training. [IED = Improvised Explosive Device.] (Source: DNA D