The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has secured approval to deploy up to 125 additional military personnel to join the counter-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) efforts in Iraq.
The authorisation by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron follows a recent request from the Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi for additional international support in the fight against ISIL, and takes the total number of UK soldiers providing training support to the Iraqi security forces to more than 275.
Approximately 100 UK soldiers will provide specialist counter-IED training to the Iraqi security forces in up to four locations across Iraq, including Taji, Besmaya and Al Asad.
Meanwhile, the remaining 25 personnel will provide training in other critical skills, such as medical, equipment maintenance, manoeuvre support for bridging and crossing trenches and information operations.
Scheduled to deploy in the coming weeks, the new contingent will co-locate with existing coalition training bases in Iraq.
Britain’s counter-IED training targets a particular tactic used by ISIL terrorists who are well known for their intensive use of explosives while pulling out of a territory.
Since the start of the ISIL offensive in Iraq, the UK has trained more than 1,400 Iraqi personnel, including 150 counter-IED specialists, and also donated 1,000 Vallon counter-IED detectors to the Iraqi Government.
As the second largest contributor to the anti-ISIL coalition, the UK intelligence and surveillance platforms are already patrolling the Iraqi skies, providing critical information for the local forces on the ground.
Apart from this, the government also announced plans to boost its humanitarian support to Iraq by £20m, bringing the UK’s total contribution to £59.5m.
Cameron is expected to discuss the efforts of the counter-ISIL coalition with Abadi and the US President Barack Obama at the ongoing G7 Summit in Germany.
In a meeting with Obama, Cameron is likely to discuss efforts to train moderate Syrian opposition forces in locations outside Syria.
Image: UK Prime Minister David Cameron approved deployment of 125 more troops to join the counter-ISIL efforts in Iraq. Photo: courtesy of http://www.number10.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/official-photo-cameron.jpg.