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The UK Government is planning to expand its training programme for Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, who are fighting Islamic State (IS) militants in the country.

During a visit to Iraq, UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the country intends to offer more advisory personnel to Iraqi headquarters and provide additional training to Peshmerga fighters.

Fallon said the UK will be increasing its current training mission to the Kurds, to include infantry skills such as sharp-shooting and first aid, alongside the supply of further equipment.

"Iraqi forces are spearheading efforts to push back ISIL (IS) and their violent and repellent ideology," Fallon said.

"The UK, as part of the international coalition, is already taking part in air strikes across Iraq and carrying out training for Kurdish forces in the north of the country.

"It is right that we do more to help Iraqi forces take the fight to ISIL on the ground, which is why the UK is offering the further training, support and assistance I have outlined today."

However, the government ruled out deploying ground combat soldiers in Iraq.

The UK armed forces are already instructing Peshmerga fighters on how to use heavy machine guns, as part of the broad international coalition focused on defeating IS.

Since the start of the IS offensive in June, the UK has made humanitarian air drops to Iraqi refugees and also coordinated with weapons supplies to the Kurdish authorities.

In addition, the Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 fighters are launching air strikes on insurgents in Iraq, in support of coalition air operations.

Image: UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon. Photo: Crown copyright.

Defence Technology