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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UK to resume training of Syrian opposition to fight Daesh

25 October 2016

UK personnel will train members of vetted moderate Syrian opposition groups in infantry, medical and explosive hazard awareness skills as part of the counter Daesh campaign, the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced.

Underlining the UK's commitment to the campaign against Daesh, Mr Fallon said that up to twenty UK personnel would deploy to locations in the region but outside Syria to provide vetted members of moderate Syrian opposition groups with the skills they need to continue to take the fight to Daesh.

As the campaign against Daesh terrorists reaches a crucial stage, following the advance on Mosul in Iraq, UK troops will help improve the capabilities of vetted members of the moderate Syrian opposition, and to generate greater numbers of trained moderate Syrian opposition fighters to contribute to the counter Daesh campaign.

The training will focus on basic infantry tactics, command and control, explosive hazard awareness training (EHAT) and medical training.

The announcement follows a US request to the UK to provide support for their Train and Equip Programme, which recently restarted in July 2016.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's Counter Daesh Ministerial in Paris, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

"Daesh are the back foot. The RAF is already playing a leading role in the air, hitting them hard in Iraq and Syria."

"Now we're stepping up our support by training moderate opposition forces outside Syria in the skills they need to defeat Daesh."

As Iraqi and Kurdish forces continue operations in Mosul, the UK supported training will help cement recent progress in northwest Syria, underlining the pressure Daesh is now under on all fronts.

All volunteers from the moderate opposition will be subject to strict vetting procedures and will receive training in International Humanitarian Law. Trainees will be security and medically screened prior to the start of training and will be assessed during and monitored after training.

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