30 Jun 17. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 26 Jun 17 Tornados destroyed a truck-bomb workshop near Al Mayadin while Typhoons and Tornados
eliminated snipers in Raqqa and Mosul. Two days later Tornados supported Syrian Democratic Forces in Raqqa while on 29 Jun 27 Typhoons and Tornados struck four Daesh positions in Raqqa as Tornados hit two
strong points in West Mosul. (MoD, 30 Jun 17.)
Comment: The MoD noted that Daesh’s current tactics, including the illegal use of civilians as human shields and fighting from sites such as schools and hospitals, increases the risk to innocent life. The RAF “continues to take all steps necessary to minimise civilian casualties”.
On 29 Jun 17 the Defence Secretary said that Daesh “faces its endgame” in Mosul, confirming that UK aircrews have now hit over 700 targets during operations to liberate Mosul since last year. In addition, the RAF has
struck 69 targets in and around Raqqa in support of Syrian Democratic Forces. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/25, 03 July 17)
29 Jun 17. Afghanistan: Extra Support. The Defence Secretary confirmed (29 Jun 17) that the UK is to increase support to Afghanistan, with around 85 extra Service personnel to support NATO’s mission in the Country. The increase of UK personnel is in response to a request for a “few thousand” more troops (to which 15 nations have responded). The additional troops will continue to work in non-combat roles mentoring the Afghan Army and Police as well as the Afghan Air Force. Further support will be provided to the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces in training and leadership development. The ‘uplift’ will add to the contribution of 500 troops the UK already makes to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission.
Comment: Further details are contained in a House of Commons Written Statement, by the Defence Secretary, on 29 Jun 17. The Statement includes a reminder that 456 members of the Armed Forces have died during
Operations in Afghanistan. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/25, 03 July 17)
30 Jun 17. Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF): Finland and Sweden Join. The Defence Secretary welcomed Finland and Sweden to the JEF during an official signing event (30 Jun 17) at Karlberg Castle in Stockholm. Spearheaded by the UK, Finland and Sweden make the JEF a nine-nation strong pool of forces alongside Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway.
Comment: Launched in 2015, the JEF will become fully operational in 2018; “which could mean the mobilisation of 10,000 troops to respond quickly to a range of issues, using combat power, deterrence or humanitarian
support”. The JEF concept is distinct from existing international organisations and can operate alone but has the ability to integrate with other multinational forces (in support of NATO, the EU or UN forces).
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/25, 03 July 17)
29 Jun 17. NATO: Additional Contributions. During a meeting of NATO Defence Ministers (29 Jun 17), the Defence Secretary confirmed:-
. The Royal Navy is to take the lead of half of NATO’s Maritime Forces for a year.
. The provision of offensive cyber support to NATO Operations.
. Increased UK support for advising the Afghan Government. Additional co-operation on Maritime Patrol Aircraft. HMS DUNCAN is to lead Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), “providing reassurance and deterrence
in the Black Sea, as well as commanding NATO’s counter migration activity in the Mediterranean”. HMS ENTERPRISE is to lead Standing NATO Mine Countermeasure Group 2 (SNMCMG2) from July (2017). The Group is mainly based in the Mediterranean and is capable of searching for and disposing of explosive ordnance. HMS ENTERPRISE is the flagship for the Group and is to be joined by HMS PEMBROKE in the second half of 2017.
Comment: The Defence Secretary said: “As part of our leadership within the Alliance, we are stepping up our NATO commitments. Whether it’s in the cyber doma