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Written Question
Kurds: Military Aid
28 Jul 2021

Questioner: Jim Shannon (DUP - Strangford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assistance his Department has provided to the Kurdish people to help tackle terrorist groups affecting those people.

Answered by James Heappey

The UK continues to support the Kurdish people at multiple levels to combat the Daesh threat in Iraq and Syria.

In Iraq, the Kurdish Peshmerga have played a leading role in the Global Coalition's successful campaign against Daesh. As a key partner, the UK has trained more than 9,100 Peshmerga fighters and supplied them with technical and military support to enhance their capacity and capability to tackle the threat from Daesh. Furthermore, the UK has gifted over 2,000 tonnes of lethal and non-lethal aid to Kurdish and Iraqi security forces (ammunition, body armour, first aid equipment etc) to support them in their fight against Daesh.

Whilst in Syria, the UK has consistently provided tactical support and funding through the Global Coalition to assist the Syrian Democratic Forces in their efforts to prevent the resurgence of Daesh in the region.


Written Question
Iraq: Military Aid
29 Oct 2019

Questioner: Jack Lopresti (CON - Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his policy is on the continuation of the role of British forces in training and equipping Iraqi security forces and Kurdish security forces in the event that the US Administration withdraws its forces from the Kurdistan region in Iraq.

Answered by Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton

The UK has a persistent partnership with Iraq. We are committed to supporting the Iraqi Security Forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga in countering the threat from Daesh. Together with Iraq, we have a shared aim of ensuring Daesh's enduring defeat, in addition to a long-term commitment to stabilisation of the country. Our efforts to support a stable and prosperous Iraq are vital to UK national security.


Written Question
Iraq: Islamic State
18 Feb 2019

Questioner: Lord Dodds of Duncairn (DUP - Life peer)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the Department for International Development's press release entitled UK aid removing Daesh explosives and helping Iraqis return home, published in January 2019, what personnel deployment is part of the extra £5 million allocated by the Government to assist with clearing Daesh explosives in Iraq.

Answered by Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton

The extra £5 million allocated by the Department for International Development in January to demining is all going to the UN Mine Action Service, who will work with contractors to clear explosive devices in Iraq. This work is humanitarian in nature, with the focus being on the removal of mines from hospitals, schools and people's homes. No military personnel are therefore deployed to this task. However, UK forces are training the Iraqi Security Forces in countering improvised explosive devices (IED) in a military context. This training increases the capabilities of the Iraqi forces to deal with the ongoing threat the country faces from Daesh IEDs.


Written Question
Iraq: Military Intervention
8 Feb 2017

Questioner: Henry Smith (CON - Crawley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the provision of any military supplies agreed by the Government as suitable for the Kurdistan Regional Government has not been allowed by the federal Government of Iraq since June 2014; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Mike Penning

The Ministry of Defence is not aware of any occasion since June 2014 when military supplies gifted by the UK Government for use by Kurdistan Regional Government Peshmerga forces in the fight against Daesh have not been allowed by the Government of Iraq.

The UK Government has trained more than 7,300 Peshmerga fighters in Infantry skills, Counter-IED, engineering and combat first aid and they are playing an invaluable role in defeating Daesh.


Written Question
Islam: Religious Freedom
9 Dec 2016

Questioner: Jim Shannon (DUP - Strangford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support the Government is providing to (a) Iraq, (b) Afghanistan and (c) Nigeria to ensure the protection of minority Shi'a Muslims in those countries.

Answered by Tobias Ellwood

Iraq
The only way of safeguarding minority communities in Iraq is by defeating Daesh and establishing a lasting peace. The UK Government is committed to this. We have a comprehensive strategy for defeating Daesh and continue to support the Government of Iraq in its efforts to build a more inclusive society. Since June 2014, the UK has committed £169.5 million in humanitarian assistance to the crisis in Iraq. This includes access to clean water, food, medicines and other life-saving assistance for the most vulnerable. All UK funded aid is distributed on the basis of need, irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity to ensure that civilians are not discriminated against. We prioritise reaching the most vulnerable people across Iraq, including Shia Muslims and others who have suffered from such violence.

Nigeria
It is important that all Nigerians enjoy the right to freedom of religious belief and assembly, and that the security forces act within the law. UK military training and assistance to the Armed Forces of Nigeria has consistently emphasised the importance of adherence to internationally recognised Rules of Engagement, as well as the importance of International Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. We continue to work with the Nigerian Government, NGOs and civil society to improve the security situation and human rights for all the people of Nigeria.

Afghanistan
The UK is working closely with the Afghan Government as it seeks to overcome the legacy of conflict and become a more prosperous and stable state for all Afghans without discrimination. We currently have 450 military personnel in Afghanistan serving in a non-combat role, advising and assisting the Afghanistan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) as part of the NATO Resolute Mission. In addition to military support, we recently pledged £750m in development aid at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan for the period 2017-2020, this is expected to deliver improved health systems, boost education opportunities and assist with steps to tackle corruption.


Written Question
Iraq: Religious Freedom
6 Dec 2016

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in relation to humanitarian assistance provided to Iraq, a record is kept to track what support is given to religious minorities; what priority is being given to such groups in the plans for the reconstruction of the country; and what consideration is taken of the needs of such groups in military planning in theatres of war such as Mosul.

Answered by Lord Bates

All UK-funded humanitarian aid is distributed on the basis of need irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity. The organisations through which we channel this in Iraq do not identify or record beneficiaries by their religion. In our dialogue with the Government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the United Nations, UK Ministers and officials frequently raise the importance of ensuring that minorities are protected from harm, and that their needs are taken into account when planning for stabilisation and reconstruction, including in Mosul.


Written Question
Iraq: Military Aid
18 Oct 2016

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how the UK is supporting the Iraqi government in its preparations to restore inclusive governance in Mosul after that city is removed from the control of IS.

Answered by Tobias Ellwood

We are supporting the Iraqi government in its efforts to unite Mosul's communities against Daesh and extremism, rebuild public trust in the Iraqi state and deliver the services and opportunities which all Maslawis want and deserve. Our goal is to liberate Mosul, in a way that protects civilians, minimises the humanitarian impact, and limits longer-term conflict by supporting political reconciliation.

The UK has pledged £9.25m to the UN's Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilisation, which is supporting the Iraqi government to stabilise areas recently liberated from Daesh and has so far helped 775,000 people return to their homes by re-establishing security, basic services and inclusive local governance. The Development Secretary announced a further £40 million in humanitarian assistance for Iraq at the UN General Assembly on 21 September, specifically to support the response to Mosul.


Written Question
Iraq: Military Aid
14 Jul 2016

Questioner: Jim Shannon (DUP - Strangford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what support his Department is giving to women soldiers in Iraq through (a) training and (b) provision of body armour.

Answered by Penny Mordaunt

The UK has trained female soldiers from the Iraqi Security Forces in infantry skills, combat first aid and explosive hazard awareness as part of the wider Coalition programme to build security force capacity in Iraq. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence announced to the House on 2 September 2014 (Column 16WS), the UK has also gifted non-lethal equipment to the Peshmerga including enhanced combat body armour suitable for both men and women.


Written Question
Middle East: Overseas Aid
19 Apr 2016

Questioner: Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick (Non-affiliated - Life peer)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much UK aid has been spent on programmes to support (a) children who have been conscripted as child soldiers by Daesh, (b) other children who have been held in captivity by Daesh and (c) women and girls who have been held in sexual slavery by Daesh.

Answered by Desmond Swayne

We are very concerned about appalling crimes committed by Daesh in Iraq and Syria, including against women and young children. We strongly condemn their use of sexual slavery, sexual violence, rape and kidnapping. Likewise, we have seen reports of children in Daesh-held areas being forced into military training after the militant group closed down their schools - leaving an estimated total of over 670,000 children without the opportunity of a proper education.

In Syria and Iraq, DFID continues to work with the UN and the international community to ensure all civilians’ rights are protected. However, we do not earmark our aid as being solely for Daesh victims or victims of other groups. The UK is committed to supporting the most vulnerable people wherever they are, in accordance with international humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality. Consequently all UK funded humanitarian assistance is distributed on the basis of need, and need alone, regardless of politics, religion, ethnicity or place of origin.

The UK has pledged over £2.3 billion for the response to the Syria crisis. Some of this funding is enabling partner agencies to provide specialist assistance to those affected by sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), including safe spaces, psychosocial support, cash assistance and reproductive healthcare. By June 2015, UK assistance had provided SGBV focussed interventions to over 197,000 individuals in Syria and the region. In addition, more than 673,000 children have been reached with child protection initiatives across Syria and the region.

Ultimately, the best way of safeguarding these children is by defeating Daesh and establishing a lasting peace in both Syria and Iraq. The UK Government is committed to this aim: we have a comprehensive strategy for defeating Daesh and continue to work with our international partners and the UN towards a political settlement in Syria.


Written Question
Syria
24 Mar 2016

Questioner: Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what proportion of Government spending on Syria has been spent on (a) military action and (b) the provision of humanitarian aid.

Answered by Penny Mordaunt

It is not possible to separately identify the costs of military action in Syria. However, from August 2014, the net additional costs of counter-Daesh activity in Iraq and Syria have been £280 million. Since February 2012, the UK has pledged over £2.3 billion in response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria.


Written Question
Iraq: Military Aid
29 Jan 2016

Questioner: Julie Cooper

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many members of the Iraqi army have been trained by British servicemen since 2003.

Answered by Penny Mordaunt

Since 2003, the UK has played an important role in delivering training to the Iraqi Army through a range of training, mentoring and advisory activities. Due to the varied nature of the training it is not possible to give an exact figure of the numbers trained, but we do have figures for some specific areas of training.

Between 2004 and 2009 - as part of Operation TELIC - British Service personnel in the south of Iraq trained over 20,000 Iraqi Army soldiers. During this period the UK also supported the NATO training mission in Iraq, with British Forces providing advice and training to the Iraqi Ministry of Defence. The UK was the lead for officer education and training, and British mentors provided training and advice to the Iraqi Security Forces.

Under Operation SHADER, during 2015 and 2016, the UK has trained approximately 5,000 members of the Iraqi Army. This training has mainly focused on the delivery of Counter-IED training to support the Iraqi Security Forces in defeating Daesh.


Written Question
Syria: Islamic State
13 Nov 2015

Questioner: David Amess (CON - Southend West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how the Government plans to develop a more comprehensive strategy to combat ISIL that prioritises protecting civilians in Syria.

Answered by Tobias Ellwood

The UK has a long-term, comprehensive strategy to degrade and defeat ISIL. We are working to protect UK citizens, both domestically and overseas, from the threat posed by ISIL, and playing a leading role in the 65-member Global Coalition that is tackling ISIL on the ground. That international effort includes military action against ISIL in its heartlands in Iraq and Syria, cutting off its finances, tackling foreign fighter flows, stabilising areas which have been liberated from ISIL, and countering its poisonous ideology through strategic communications.

Unlike the Assad regime and its allies, who are bombing indiscriminately, Coalition military efforts in both Iraq and Syria are specifically designed to minimise civilian casualties. UK strike aircraft (which are currently operating only in Iraq) are equipped with advanced targeting systems and precision weapons to target ISIL by day or night whilst minimising civilian casualties.

In addition to our efforts as part of the Global Coalition, the UK is directly helping protect Syrians on the ground. We are training Search and Rescue teams and supporting local Moderate Opposition structures to deliver governance, infrastructure, health services, education and livelihoods services. We also give more humanitarian aid to Syria than any other bilateral donor except the US.

Ultimately, the only way to protect civilians in Syria is by achieving the mutually reinforcing objectives of defeating ISIL and ending the Syrian conflict. The latter can only be achieved through a political transition away from the Assad regime, whose brutality created and continues to fuel the conflict, and has led to ISIL’s expansion.


Written Question
Iraq: Military Intervention
24 Sep 2015

Questioner: Lord Bishop of Worcester (Bishops - Bishops)

Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that military action by coalition forces in Iraq does not displace civilians.

Answered by Earl Howe

Defence's initial involvement last summer was to deliver immediate aid in support of humanitarian objectives. The Royal Air Force dropped nearly 100 tonnes of humanitarian supplies, the majority to the besieged Yazidi community on Mount Sinjar.

Individual members of the Coalition retain responsibility for the actions of their own forces. All UK air strikes are conducted under UK rules of engagement, which have been agreed for this campaign in accordance with the law. Close observation, careful selection and approval of targets before a strike, and the use of precision weapons minimises collateral damage and the potential for civilian casualties. This is in stark contrast with ISIL's complete disregard for human life and for the consequences of their actions for civilians.


Written Question
Islamic State
11 Sep 2015

Questioner: Kate Osamor (LAB - Edmonton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the appropriateness of the Turkish government's response to ISIS; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Tobias Ellwood

Turkey is a key security partner for the UK which has long played an important role in the Global Coalition’s efforts to defeat ISIL. It is a founding member of the Coalition, and a critical partner in restricting the flow of foreign fighters and finance to ISIL across its borders with Syria and Iraq. Its strong support to the Syrian moderate opposition, including through the US-led Train and Equip Programme, helps bolster this critical ground force in its struggle against ISIL. More recently, we welcome Turkey joining the Coalition airstrikes against ISIL in Syria, as well as the opening of Incirlik airbase to Coalition forces. This is having a real military impact, drastically reducing the flight times to reach targets in Syria. Furthermore, Turkey is playing a key role in the humanitarian effort. It hosts more than 2 million refugees fleeing from Syria and Iraq, and is facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid across the border.
Written Question
Iraq: Military Aid
30 Jul 2015

Questioner: Baroness Helic (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to integrate training on sexual violence and gender issues into all training given by British forces to the Peshmerga in Iraq.

Answered by Earl Howe

Protection of Civilian (PoC) training is now integrated into all of the training courses delivered to Peshmerga troops by UK training teams. This includes training on sexual violence and gender issues.

UK trainers have also delivered training to coalition partners' training teams within the Building Partner Capacity site at Erbil. This includes German, Norwegian, and Italian trainers. All UK trainers deployed to Iraq are now trained to deliver PoC training prior to leaving the UK.