Covid-19: UK to draw down Iraq personnel as training mission paused

20 March 2020 (Last Updated March 29th, 2020 13:53)

UK is set to drawdown some of its service personnel from Iraq following a 60-day pause in the coalition training mission due to Covid-19 (coronavirus).

Covid-19: UK to draw down Iraq personnel as training mission paused
UK military personnel prepare to engage targets in Iraq. Credit: Photograph by Cpl Paul Jarvis/MOD.

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UK is set to draw down some of its service personnel from Iraq following a 60-day pause in the coalition training mission due to the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The US-led training mission has been supported by the UK along with global coalition partners since 2014.

Following this announcement, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) will redeploy some of its personnel back to the UK and prepare them for other potential deployments around the world.

Meanwhile, key military personnel will be retained throughout Iraq to support the Iraqi Government, Global Coalition and UK national interests.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “In recent months the tempo of training has significantly declined, which means that I am in a position to bring back the current training unit to the UK.

“There remains a significant footprint of UK Armed Forces within the coalition and elsewhere.”

Wallace added: “We are committed to building Iraq’s security capacity through our membership of the Global Coalition that has proved so effective and will continue to support the Iraqi Government in achieving stability.”

Meanwhile, Iran-backed Shia militia group (SMG) is continuing launching rockets against coalition forces in Iraq.

The recent attacks against Camp Taji in Iraq killed two US service members and one UK soldier.

Although the US conducted retaliatory strikes in response to the attack, three more US service members were injured on 13 March in a Katuyusha rocket attack on US, coalition and Iraqi forces at Camp Taji.

Camp Taji is the main training base for Iraqi security forces.