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03 Jul 17. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 30 Jun 17 Tornados and Typhoons destroyed a truck-bomb and a Daesh-held building in Raqqa. On 1 Jul 17 a Reaper eliminated a mortar team and Typhoons engaged a heavy machine-gun, both in Raqqa.
Tornados struck three Daesh positions in Mosul. On 2 Jul 17 Tornados and Typhoons engaged four Daesh positions in Mosul and two in Raqqa. (MoD, 3 Jul 17.)
On 3 Jul 17 Reapers and a Tornado/Typhoon pair attacked a Daesh headquarters as well as a machine-gun team and a defensive position in Raqqa. Tornados struck seven targets in Mosul and three truck-bomb
workshops near Hawija. On 5 Jul 17 Typhoons engaged seven Daesh positions in Mosul as Tornados eliminated a sniper team in Raqqa. (MoD, 6 Jul 17.)
Comment: The Foreign Office issued (30 Jun 17) A Press Release drawing attention to a statement published by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) which reported its investigation into the Chemical Weapons attack on Khan Sheikdom in Syria on 4 Apr 17. The OPCW confirmed that the deadly nerve agent sarin had been used in the attack. The Foreign Secretary confirmed details of the attack when answering questions in the House of Commons on 4 Jul 17. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/26, 10 July 17)
05 Jul 17. Ukraine: OP ORBITAL. The Defence Secretary met his Ukrainian counterpart in London on 5 Jul 17 and confirmed that over 5,000 members of Ukraine’s Armed Forces had been directly trained by the UK. British personnel have been engaged on OP ORBITAL since 2015 and the training mission is to continue until at least early 2018. The training covers a number of defensive skills such as the identification of mines and IED (improvised explosive devices), medical care and logistics.
Comment: The Ukrainian Defence Minister was in the UK to discuss his Country’s progress in implementing reforms and the way forward to 2020 at the Ukraine Reform Conference held in Lancaster House on 6 Jul 17.
The Conference, co-hosted by the Foreign Secretary and the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, showcased “the progress Ukraine has made on reform since 2014”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/26, 10 July 17)
05 Jul 17. South Sudan: Hospital Facilities. British troops are supporting the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the Defence Secretary has
confirmed (5 Jul 17) that the Bentiu-based medical facility is fully operational. The temporary hospital will support over 1,800 UN peacekeepers and UN staff. Construction of the hospital came at the request of the UN and was assessed as one of the best ways UK expertise could support delivery of the UNMISS mandate (to protect civilians and support the peace process).
Comment: Nearly 400 UK military personnel are supporting UN efforts in South Sudan. The temporary hospital will be run by some 75 medical staff from all three Services and is to be replaced by a permanent field hospital built by the Royal Engineers. South Sudan was the subject of two House of Commons Questions on 7 Jul 17. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/26, 10 July 17)
07 Jul 17. Cyprus: Conference Closes. The UN Secretary-General confirmed (7 Jul 17) that “the Conference on Cyprus was closed without an agreement being reached”. The UK was present at the talks, as one of the Guarantor Powers.
Comment: The current round of talks between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots began in January 2017. As the conference progressed with structured talks on security issues, there had been optimism that the disputed settlement of the island could be resolved. The UK Minister for Europe said the outcome was “disappointing”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/26, 10 July 17)
03 Jul 17. HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH: First Aircraft Lands. The MoD reported (3 Jul 17) that a Merlin helicopte