The UK is to deploy more troops to Iraq to help train Iraqi forces as they prepare for a new offensive against ISIS.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said on Saturday that Britain would send 30 extra troops to provide training in logistics and bridge-building as well as specialist medical staff.
That would take the total number of UK personnel on training mission in Iraq to 300
Press TV reports:
“Now is the time to step up our training of Iraqi forces, as they prepare for operations in key cities such as Fallujah and Mosul,” Fallon said, adding that Britain has made “solid progress” in the collective fight against Daesh.
The British official boasted the move to increase the number of troops in Iraq as proving the “crucial role” London is playing in the fight against Daesh, saying UK airstrikes against purported positions of militants in Iraq have trebled.
British jets have been targeting purported positions of Daesh in Iraq and neighboring Syria as part of an international coalition against the Takfiri group. The central government has on occasions expressed regret that the US-led attacks have failed to target militants as locals have reported damage to civilian areas.
The British Ministry of Defense said four airstrikes were carried out on March 9 in northern and western Iraq. It said British Tornado and Typhoon aircraft conducted five more combat sorties the day after in the same area, claiming that they managed to destroy a weapons cache and several Daesh positions.
Experts said the UK announcement may be a sign that Iraq is nearing its long-anticipated mission to recapture the city of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city which serves as the stronghold of Daesh in the northern province of Nineveh.
Sending troops with expertise in bridge-building could also assist the government in repairing those bridges destroyed in airstrikes by the so-called coalition and attacks by Daesh. Some Iraqi groups has resisted the contribution of Western governments in the fight against Daesh, saying those countries do little to address the aftermath of war and how to rebuild areas devastated in the attacks.