25 Oct 16. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 21 Oct 16 Tornados, Typhoons and a Reaper provided close air support to Iraqi and Kurdish forces around
Mosul. On 22 Oct 16 a Reaper supported Iraqi forces consolidating their liberation of Qaraqosh and on the following day Typhoons, Tornados and a Reaper destroyed 17 targets on the approaches to Mosul. On 24 Oct 16 Typhoons, Tornados and a Reaper attacked 15 targets on the outskirts of Mosul. (MoD, 25 Oct 16.)
UK personnel are to train members of vetted moderate Syrian opposition groups in Infantry, medical and explosive hazard awareness skills as part of the counter-Daesh campaign. (Defence Secretary, 25 Oct 16.)
On 25 Oct 16 a Reaper struck two terrorist targets South East of Mosul. On 26 Oct 16 Typhoons and a Reaper provided close air support around Mosul while on 27 Oct 16 a Reaper attacked terrorists to the North of
Mosul. (MoD, 28 Oct 16.)
Following the addition of more Syrian individuals to the EU sanctions list the Foreign Secretary said (28 Oct 16): “The UK is working tirelessly with our international partners to find a long term solution to the Syrian conflict.”
The UK has assisted in the training and mentoring of over 6,900 Kurdish Peshmerga. The total pledged by the UK to help the victims of Daesh is almost £170m since 2014. (Armed Forces’ Minister, 28 Oct 16.)
Comment: With Iraqi Forces liberating the key towns of Qaraqosh and Bartallah, RAF aircraft have continued to provide close air support including to the Kurdish forces approaching Mosul from the North.
26 Oct 16. NATO: Support for European Allies. The Defence Secretary said (26 Oct 16) that the UK is to commit Typhoon aircraft to the NATO Southern Air Policing mission “to offer reassurance to the Black Sea allies”. The Typhoons will be deployed from RAF Coningsby to Romania for up to four months in 2017.
The Defence Secretary also confirmed that the UK will be sending 800 personnel to Estonia; delivering one of four battalions to NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltic States and Poland. The deployment is likely to include armoured Infantry, tactical UAVs and a troop of Challenger 2 main battle tanks. The deployment is expected to start in May 2017.
Comment: The ‘support package’ was first announced against the background of the NATO Warsaw Summit. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/42, 31 Oct 16)
23 Oct 16. Kosovo: Security Contribution. The Defence Secretary announced (23 Oct 16) that a team “of nearly 30 UK troops” is to travel to Eastern
Europe “early next year” to join the NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR). KFOR’s mission is to maintain safety, security and freedom of movement in Kosovo. The year-long deployment follows a request from NATO for further
support. The UK team will be based with the KFOR HQ in Pristina, with a particular remit to carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Comment: KFOR began as a peacekeeping force but has now evolved as one of the main providers of security in Kosovo. Some 30 countries provide troops for the 4,200-strong force. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/42, 31 Oct 16)
26 Oct 16. Libya: Training Activities. The House of Commons debated Libya on 26 Oct 16. The Foreign Office Minister responsible stated that he would be issuing a Written Ministerial Statement on Libya in due course. The Defence Secretary confirmed (27 Oct 16) that a small team of RN personnel is to provide training for the Libyans in coastguard activities such as search and rescue. As part of the European Union’s mission in the
Mediterranean, OP SOPHIA, the training is designed to increase Libya’s ability to secure its own borders. Specialist RN trainers will also teach the coastguard in Naval expertise such as how to sail alongside, board
and inspect vessels.
Comment: OP SOPHIA aims to disrupt the activities of the smugglers who continue to exploit migrants trying to reach Europe from Libya. The RN reported (28 Oct 16) that HMS DIAMOND h