09 Jan 17. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 4 Jan 17 Typhoons destroyed a bomb factory in Northern Iraq and a bridge used by Daesh in Western Iraq. On the following day Tornados attacked a mortar in Mosul while a Reaper supported Iraqi troops in the city. On 6 Jan 17 Typhoons bombed a sniper position West of Raqqa and a Reaper supported Iraqi forces in Mosul. A Reaper intervened in close-quarter fighting in Mosul on 7 Jan 17. Tornados attacked a truck-bomb workshop and weapons cache in Northern Iraq on 8 Jan 17 as a Reaper destroyed a boat on the Tigris and Typhoons
engaged an artillery piece to the West of Raqqa. (MoD, 9 Jan 17.)
On 9 Jan 17 Tornados attacked four targets in Mosul and near Nineveh. On the following day a Reaper eliminated a mortar team and a group of Daesh fighters. On 11 Jan 17 a Reaper engaged Daesh fighters in Northern Mosul. (MoD, 12 Jan 17.)
The British Government has not severed diplomatic relations with Syria (although staff were withdrawn from the Embassy in Damascus in February 2012 and the Syrian Embassy in London was closed in August 2012). (Hansard, 12 Jan 17.)
Getting humanitarian aid to Syrians trapped in besieged areas is one of our top priorities. Over 570,000 people remain in areas besieged by the Syrian regime. (Hansard, 12 Jan 17.)
Since 20 Sep 16, UK Reapers have continued to operate in support of OP SHADER in Iraq and Syria on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sorties. (Armed Forces’ Minister, 13 Jan 17.)
Comment: A series of Questions about Syria were the subject of Written Answers in the House of Lords on 9 Jan 17. Topics covered were: ‘Armed Conflict,’ ‘Military Intervention’ and ‘Politics and Government.’ It was
noted that the Russian and Iranian Ambassadors to the UK were summoned by the Foreign Secretary on 15 Dec 16 “to express the UK Government’s profound concern over the actions of Iran and Russia in Syria”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/03, 16 Jan 17)
09 Jan 17. Sierra Leone: EX GUMA SUN. The MoD reported (9 Jan 17) the return of soldiers of 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards from Sierra Leone,
where they were training and exercising with the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF). EX GUMA SUN involved 88 British soldiers training alongside a platoon of RSLAF soldiers as they learnt how to live and fight in the jungle.
Comment: The Regiment, also known as The Welsh Cavalry, had already spent 2016 building strong relationship with the RSLAF while training in peace support Operations. The long-term training plan is to develop the RSLAF capability for carrying out UN Peace Support Operations. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/03, 16 Jan 17)
09 Jan 17. HMS CLYDE: Overhaul. The RN advised (9 Jan 17) that HMS CLYDE has been withdrawn from the Falkland Islands in order to undertake an overhaul in Simon’s Town. Once in Simon’s Town, CLYDE was manoeuvred into dry dock for the removal of five years’ worth of algae and marine growth on her hull. CLYDE is also having maintenance work carried out on her upper deck and on her engineering systems.
Comment: MercoPress reported that HMS CLYDE arrived at Simon’s Town on 22 Dec 16 and is scheduled to depart on 20 Feb 17. While CLYDE is undergoing maintenance, her duties around the Falkland Islands are being undertaken by HMS ENTERPRISE, which has also been tasked with updating the local charts. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/03, 16 Jan 17)
09 Jan 17. Tornado Aircraft: Availability. The Minister of State in the House of Lords said (9 Jan 17) that there were no plans to upgrade or change the function of Tornado, which is due to be withdrawn from service in 2019.
Comment: The total in service Tornado GR4 fleet (as at 9 Jan 17) was 68 airframes, of which 46 were in the Forward Fleet and 22 were in the Sustainment Fleet. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/03, 16 Jan 17)
09 Jan 17. Typhoon Aircraft: Availability. The Minister of State in the House of Lords no