British and Iraqi Defence Ministers Meet
British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson conducted talks with his Iraqi counterpart, Erfan al-Hiyali, in London on 6 March, during which he reaffirmed the UK’s complete commitment to the total defeat of Daesh. “We will not rest until we hammer the final nail in the terrorists’ coffin,” he commented, highlighting some of the continuing air operations being conducted by the Royal Air Force (RAF). In the past three weeks, RAF REAPERs, TORNADOs and TYPHOONs have destroyed armoured vehicles, terrorist bases, weapon stores and disrupted supply routes.
The importance of continued RAF activity was echoed by Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, who said: “With Daesh losing control of its last remaining pockets of territory, they are once more looking purely like the terrorist organisation they are. Yet the threat they pose within the region and more widely across the world remains. As we have discovered in previous conflicts, if we let up, then we run the risk that Daesh will return. It is vital that we stay the course, alongside our allies, until the job is done.”
Since 2014, RAF aircraft have carried out almost 1,700 strikes against Daesh assets in Iraq and Syria. The service has conducted a significant number of ISR missions and has provided additional air support to partner coalition forces in the form of transport and in-flight refuelling.
The UK is working to secure Daesh’s lasting defeat by cooperating with legitimate local authorities towards a stable, prosperous and united future for affected communities in both Iraq and Syria and ensuring that Daesh must not be allowed to re-emerge, the Ministry of Defence stated.