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————————————————————————NEWS IN BRIEF – EUROPE
18 Apr 17. General Election: To Be Held on 8 Jun 17. The Prime Minister called for a General Election (18 Apr 17) and this was endorsed by the House of Commons on the following day (by 522 voted to 13). The date for the Election is 8 Jun 17. The state of the political parties
in the House of Commons is: Conservative – 330; Labour – 229; Scottish National – 54; Liberal Democrat – 9; Democratic Unionist – 8 and seven smaller parties – 18.
Comment: In addition to the above 648 Members of Parliament (MP); the Speaker brings the total to 649 and there is one by-election pending. The by-election follows the death of Sir Gerald Kaufman, the Labour MP for Manchester Gorton. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/16, 24 Apr 17)
10 Apr 17. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 5 Apr 17 Typhoons supported Syrian Democratic Forces West of Raqqa while Tornados assisted Iraqi
troops. On 6 Apr 17 a combined Tornado and Typhoon formation destroyed a mortar team and a Daesh team planting improvised explosive devices. On the following day a Reaper provided close support over Mosul. On
8 Apr 17 a combined Tornado and Typhoon formation struck a truck-bomb factory in Mosul while on 9 Apr 17 Tornados bombed a stockpile of home-made explosives near Al Qaim. (MoD, 10 Apr 17.)
On 12 Apr 17 Typhoons eliminated a Daesh sniper team in Western Mosul and on 13 Apr 17 Typhoons supported the Syrian Democratic Forces. On 14 Apr 17 Tornados destroyed a car bomb in Mosul. On 15 Apr 17 Typhoons attacked a Daesh-held building West of Raqqa while Tornados assisted Iraqi forces inside Western Mosul. On 16 Apr 17 Tornados struck a terrorist position and a vehicle in Mosul. On 17 Apr 17 Typhoons engaged a target in Syria as Tornados destroyed a heavy machine gun in Western Iraq. (MoD, 19 Apr 17.)
Comment: The Foreign Secretary made a statement on Syria (12 Apr 17) in which he said that sarin or “a sarin-like substance” had been used, with the “Assad regime” responsible. The Foreign Secretary expressed his
dismay that “Russia has once again blocked the UN Security Council and in so doing refused to condemn the use of chemical weapons or support a full UN investigation into the attack”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/16, 24 Apr 17)
20 Apr 17. Estonia: UK-Led Deployment. The Defence Secretary witnessed (20 Apr 17) the launch of the UK-led Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) deployment in Estonia, where an 800-strong British-led Battle Group is working with Estonian, French and Danish partners. The British element of the Battle Group is mainly 5th Bn The Rifles, supported by elements of The Queen’s Royal Hussars.
Comment: The move to Estonia takes the total British deployment to Eastern Europe to nearly 1,000. 150 UK personnel are seconded to Poland as part of the UK’s support of the US-led EFP Battalion. NATO is also
establishing Battle Groups in Latvia and Lithuania. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/16, 24 Apr 17)
18 Apr 17. HMS ENTERPRISE: Returns Home. HMS ENTERPRISE returned to Devonport (18 Apr 17) following a 35-month global deployment. Since leaving the UK in June 2014, the ship has travelled 150 nautical miles, visited 20 countries (conducting 33 port visits) and sailed four of the seven seas.
Comment: HMS ENTERPRISE left the UK in 2014 on a routine deployment to the Mediterranean but then became involved in the evacuation of over 200 people following unrest in Libya. The ship was then tasked with undertaking survey operations in the Gulf and Southern Red Sea before returning to the Mediterranean in July 2015 to join EU anti-people smuggling operations as part of OP SOPHIA. During the next year
HMS ENTERPRISE destroyed 117 unseaworthy craft and rescued 9,180 people (the highest number of people ever to be rescued by a Royal Navy s