Two British Soldiers Seriously Injured in Syria

Two British soldiers have been seriously injured in Syria today following a Daesh missile attack. The Ministry of Defence have yet to confirm the details, but it is being reported that the two soldiers are members of the British army’s special forces.

News of the injuries was reported by two military organisations who are opposed to Daesh, the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units and the Syrian Democratic Forces. The British Government has said that it doesn’t comment on military matters which involve special forces.

The Ministry of Defence Confirms the Death of Corporal Steven Wainwright

The Ministry of Defence have confirmed the death of Corporal Steven Wainwright after being involved in a car crash at the Akrotiri Sovereign Base Area in Cyprus.

Group Captain Andrew Dickens OBE, Commanding Officer 903 Expeditionary Air Wing said in a statement:

“Our deepest condolences go to Cpl Steven Wainwright’s family and friends at what is a terrible, tragic time. He was a popular member of No. 6 Squadron, who are currently deployed as part of 903 Expeditionary Air Wing based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. As a highly skilled aircraft technician, Cpl Wainwright was making a key contribution to Operation Shader in ensuring Typhoon aircraft could complete the challenging mission against Daesh. Cpl Wainwright was a dedicated professional who had served his country with distinction. All our thoughts are now with Cpl Wainwright’s family, friends and colleagues as they come to terms with his tragic death”.

Government Reports Progress Against Daesh

The Ministry of Defence has issued an update on the fight against Daesh and the air strikes which the UK is conducting in partnership with other nations. They confirmed that progress is being made and that Daesh are being driven back in both Iraq and Syria.

The department said in a statement:

“With Daesh having suffered major defeats in both Iraq and Syria, Royal Air Force missions continue daily, focused on armed reconnaissance to identify remaining terrorist locations and support, as necessary, clearance operations on the ground by Iraqi troops and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The SDF have continued their operations against extremists south-east of Al Mayadin, in eastern Syria, and an RAF Reaper provided close air support to them on Thursday 16 November. The first terrorist threat that the Reaper’s crew identified was a vehicle being driven at very high speed towards the SDF positions. Fearing this to be a probable truck-bomb, the Reaper’s crew tracked the lorry, ready to engage. However, no intervention was necessary, as the driver lost control of the vehicle, which crashed off the road and promptly exploded; it had indeed been a truck-bomb. The Reaper subsequently spotted a group of terrorists opening fire on the SDF; a GBU-12 guided bomb quickly eliminated this threat.

On Saturday 18 November, Tornados from RAF Akrotiri patrolled over north-west Iraq. Another coalition aircraft identified a Daesh truck, loaded with equipment, concealed under cover some 35 miles west of Sharaq. The Tornados were requested to conduct an attack with the very precise Brimstone missile, and did so successfully, destroying the vehicle.

Intelligence identified a complex of buildings in northern Iraq, some 30 miles west of Sharqat, as a truck-bomb factory. Two Typhoons bombed the target site with six Paveway IV guided bombs on Wednesday 22 November; two weapons demolished a large workshop, while single bombs dealt with the four other, smaller buildings”.

Ministry of Defence Confirm British Soldier Has Died in Iraq

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that a British soldier has died in Iraq, but said that it wasn’t due to enemy action. It is thought that the soldier was one of 500 British military personnel who are in the country to train the Iraqi security forces.

In a statement the department said:

“It is with regret that the Ministry of Defence must announce the death of a soldier from the 2nd Battalion the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

The death occurred in Taji, Iraq following an incident that is currently under investigation, but we can confirm that it was not as a result of enemy activity.

The family has been informed and has requested a period of grace before the name is released”.

Government publishes latest progress in fight against Daesh

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The Government has released information about the latest progress made in recent weeks by British forces in the fight against Daesh.

A Government statement gave the following information:

“7 June: Operations around Fallujah continued when Tornados successfully attacked a weapons and ammunition stockpile hidden to the south-east of the city.

8 June: Tornados conducted three attacks to support Iraqi ground forces engaged in firefights with terrorists inside Fallujah. Despite the close proximity of the Iraqi forces, the GR4s were able to deliver simultaneous attacks with Paveway IVs against two strongpoints housing Daesh machine-gun and artillery teams. They then struck a further machine-gun position when it also opened fire on the Iraqis.

Typhoons also contributed to the Fallujah operations, using Paveway IVs against two groups of Daesh extremists armed with a light machine-gun and rocket-propelled grenades. In northern Iraq, another Typhoon mission successfully attacked a Daesh-held building east of Mosul, whilst a Reaper used a GBU-12 bomb to demolish a building where another coalition surveillance aircraft had observed terrorists unloading supplies. A second Reaper patrolled over Syria and employed a Hellfire missile to destroy a Daesh truck travelling at speed on the open road south of Raqqa.

9 June: Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s continued to provide close air support to Iraqi ground forces fighting to liberate Fallujah. One Tornado flight conducted successful attacks using Paveway IV guided bombs against four Daesh-held buildings from which terrorists were directing machine-gun fire at the Iraqi forces. A second Tornado mission used a Paveway IV to destroy a building west of the city, within which a terrorist armed vehicle was reported by nearby Iraqi troops to be concealed.

10 June: A Reaper worked in close conjunction with other coalition aircraft to engage Daesh rocket and mortar teams operating near Qayyarah. The Reaper provided support to two coalition strikes on rocket positions, then used its own Hellfire missiles and a GBU-12 guided bomb against a further set of rocket launchers and a mortar. A Typhoon FGR4 flight was also operating near Qayyarah, and they conducted attacks against five targets: three buildings where Daesh extremists had been spotted gathering and two more rocket launcher positions. North-east of Mosul, another pair of Typhoons destroyed a heavy machine-gun team with a Paveway IV. To the south, Tornados again provided close air support over Fallujah, using their Paveways against three strongpoints which housed two machine-gun teams and a group of terrorists armed with rocket-propelled grenades.

11 June: An RAF Reaper continued to hunt terrorist rocket and mortar teams around Qayyarah, conducting three attacks with Hellfire missiles.

12 June: Another Reaper patrolled over Qayyarah, and also fired three Hellfires, its targets were two terrorist vehicles and a group of Daesh fighters. Typhoons were also active nearby, and used Paveway IVs to attack two groups of terrorists caught in the open and two Daesh-held buildings. A Typhoon mission also joined Tornados operating over Fallujah; the Typhoons used one Paveway IV against a machine-gun position, whilst the Tornados delivered five very precise attacks in very demanding circumstances, with Iraqi troops extremely close to the terrorist targets. Paveway IVs were used to destroy a rocket team, an anti-tank gun, a heavily armed pick-up truck and a heavy machine-gun team, whilst a Brimstone missile silenced a light machine-gun.

During Sunday night, a pair of Tornados armed with 1000lb Enhanced Paveway II guided bombs conducted a carefully planned strike on a factory to the south-west of Qayyarah where truck-bombs were being built by Daesh. Four EPW IIs hit their targets accurately and initial reports suggest the mission was a success.

13 June: A pair of Typhoons assisted Iraqi troops as they engaged in very close combat inside Fallujah. Our aircraft delivered four precision attacks, all with Paveway IV guided bombs, that destroyed five strongpoints defended by Daesh terrorists armed with machine-guns, rocket-propelled grenades and an anti-tank gun.

14 June: The Typhoons continued operations over Fallujah, and again worked very closely with the Iraqi units hitting five terrorist positions including sniper and machine-gun teams. In northern Iraq, around Qayyarah, a second Typhoon flight and a Reaper supported Iraqi and Kurdish units. The Typhoons attacked a Daesh-held building with a Paveway IV, while the Reaper conducted four attacks: a GBU-12 guided bomb was used against a group of terrorists gathered at a weapons stockpile, and three mortars were attacked in turn with Hellfire missiles. The Reaper also tracked the arrival of a truck-bomb and observed it being concealed inside a garage – this surveillance enabled a successful attack to then be delivered by a coalition aircraft which destroyed the vehicle.

15 June: Two Typhoon flights saw action over Fallujah on Wednesday, and between them they conducted seven successful attacks with Paveway IVs. Again all were in very close support of Iraqi ground forces, accounting for terrorist teams armed with heavy weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, and a 23mm anti-aircraft gun.

Thursday 16 June – Typhoons provided close air support to Iraqi forces fighting to liberate Fallujah.

Friday 17 June – A Reaper attacked two terrorist targets in northern Iraq.

Saturday 18 June – Tornados destroyed a Daesh foreign fighters headquarters complex in north-western Iraq, whilst Reapers engaged terrorists five times in the north of the country, as well as a target in Syria.

Sunday 19 June – Typhoons conducted attacks on six Daesh positions in central Fallujah, Tornados and a Reaper struck five more targets in northern Iraq.

Monday 20 June – Tornados destroyed a truck-bomb in eastern Syria, a Reaper conducted three attacks near Raqqah, while other Tornados and Typhoons struck four terrorist positions in Fallujah.

Tuesday 21 June – Typhoons and a Reaper attacked six targets in northern Iraq.”

Government Confirms UK military attacks in Iraq

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Michael Fallon, the Secretary of State for Defence, has confirmed that air operations have taken place to assist the Iraqi Government.

In a statement Fallon confirmed:

“Royal Air Force aircraft have conducted further successful strikes on terrorist targets in northern and western Iraq. Tornado GR4s from RAF Akrotiri conducted an armed reconnaissance mission on Friday 27 March in the Mosul area, in the course of which they identified an excavator being used by ISIL to construct defensive positions against continuing Iraqi and Kurdish offensives to liberate the local population from oppression by the terrorists. A Brimstone missile made a direct hit on the vehicle, destroying it. Another Tornado patrol, on Sunday 29 March, provided close air support to Iraqi forces near Tikrit, and the accuracy of the Brimstone missile system allowed a successful attack to be conducted on a terrorist armoured personnel carrier positioned under a road bridge.

RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft have also continued their work to provide overwatch to Iraqi forces, and on Tuesday 31 March, a Reaper supported Iraqi army operations in Anbar province. As well as providing invaluable surveillance coverage, the aircraft was able to assist the Iraqi ground forces with a Hellfire missile strike on a terrorist position that was directing small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire onto an advancing army unit.

As well as providing air support to the Iraqi ground forces, the international coalition is also helping train and equip them. Having helped provide extensive infantry training to the Kurdish peshmerga, British military personnel are now leading the development of a specific coalition programme to improve the ability of the Iraqi and Kurdish troops to deal effectively with the significant threat posed by improvised explosive devices left behind by ISIL as they are forced onto the defensive by successful government offensives”.