17 things you need to know as Global Coalition members join forces to eliminate Islamic State
The UK is just one country that makes up the Global Coalition of 68 members joined together in a commitment to eradicate Islamic State.
Here are some of the facts and figures, provided by the Ministry of Defence, on the military campaign, air strikes and the training currently taking place.
1. Islamic State now holds less than 10% of Iraqi territory, and has lost 62% of the territory they once occupied in Iraq and 30% in Syria.
2. In Iraq, UK and coalition support for local forces has liberated Ramadi (February 2016), Rutbah (May 2016), Haditha, Sharqat, Hit (April 2016) and Fallujah (June 2016), Qayyarah (August 2016) and eastern Mosul (January 2017). Operations to liberate western Mosul are currently under way.
3. In Syria, the civil war and the presence of the extremist group has created a highly complex situation – further complicated by Russia’s intervention, the MoD said. Despite this, in northern Syria, UK and coalition-supported local forces liberated the strategic town of Manbij in August 2106. The Tishreen Dam (December 2015) and the town of Al Shadadi, Ar Ra, Jarabulus (February 2016) and Al Hasakah in Syria, were also liberated with coalition support.
4. The MoD said the flow of foreign fighters has fallen by up to 90% and desertions are increasing. The UK has supported successful efforts to improve international coordination, through the UN and other bodies. At least 50 countries and the UN now pass fighter profiles to Interpol – a 400% increase over two years.
5. In 2016, more than two million people were liberated from IS, with almost 23,000 square kilometres, an area larger than Wales, freed from the groups tyranny. Around 24,000 Daesh (another term for Islamic State) fighters were killed in 2016.
6. The Royal Air Force (RAF) has conducted 1,253 strikes (1,168 in Iraq; 85 in Syria) and provided highly advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assistance in support of the Coalition effort.
7. In September 2016, the RAF carried out their 1,000th air strike against Daesh targets – their strike contribution is second only to the US.
8. Coalition aircraft have destroyed an estimated 800 million dollars of Daesh’s cash stockpiles, while the RAF has struck the group’s major sources of revenue – particularly the oilfields in Eastern Syria.
9. The RAF has deployed Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft, six Typhoon jets and eight well-equipped Tornados; carrying out more air strikes than anyone except the US, and provides some of the most advanced weaponry and air surveillance the Coalition has at its disposal.
10. More than 44,656 Iraqi forces (including 7,522 Kurdish Peshmerga) have been trained in infantry and weapons maintenance, counter IED, medical and engineering skills.
11. In Besmaya, Erbil, Taji and the Al Asad Air Base in Anbar Province, UK personnel are training Iraqi and Kurdish Security Forces, in infantry skills, Counter-IED, weapons maintenance and combat medical techniques.
12. Around 1,350 UK personnel are committed to counter-Daesh operations.
13. Personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and RAF are manning crucial roles with the Global Coalition’s headquarters throughout the Middle-East, including in Baghdad where there are UK advisers working alongside Iraqi military personnel in the Iraqi Operational Command.
14. The UK is providing significant support to the Kurdish Peshmerga to assist them in the fight against Daesh. More than 50 tonnes of non-lethal support, 40 heavy machine guns, nearly half a million rounds of ammunition and £600,000 worth of military equipment has been provided.
15. To date UK forces have trained more than 6,000 Kurdish Peshmerga.
16. In July, the MoD provided to the Kurdistan Regional Government £1.4 million of further ammunition to equip the Peshmerga.
17. More than £4 million of life-saving equipment including communications, medical and logistics equipment, and protection against chemical weapons attacks to moderate opposition groups, has also been deployed