Britain to deploy forces to Iraq to help anti-ISIL fight

Britain to deploy forces to Iraq to help anti-ISIL fight

Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:2AM GMT

Britain is preparing to deploy hundreds of forces to Iraq to help Iraqi security forces in their fight against the ISIL Takfiri militants.

According to senior military sources, a few hundred British soldiers are expected to go to Iraq “within weeks.”

Small groups of British troops have carried out similar missions over the past few months but the new mission will be much greater in size and on a more permanent basis.

The troops are believed to be divided between the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and the northern Kurdish city of Erbil.

A Defense Ministry spokesman refused to confirm the details of the latest mission but said: “The Defense Secretary announced the intention to provide further training to the Iraqi military in early November. No decisions on troop numbers, units or locations have been made, so this is purely speculation at this stage.”

A spokeswoman for the UK Ministry of Defense said in October that a number of British troops in Iraq were providing training to Kurdish fighters battling the ISIL Takfiri militants in the Arab country.

She added a “small specialist team of non-combat Army trainers” had been deployed to Iraq following an earlier approval by British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon.

Iraq has faced brutal violence by ISIL across the country’s north and west since early June. They have been committing heinous crimes in the areas they have taken, including the mass execution of civilians as well as Iraqi army troops and officers.

Violence in Iraq is seen as a spillover of the militancy in neighboring Syria, where militant groups fighting government forces, enjoy the support of a few countries including the US, Britain and their regional allies.

The US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 also drew fierce criticism from Britons whose then government was Washington’s closest ally in that war which lacked any UN mandate.

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