Military Action Against IS Statement House of Commons


Military Action Against IS Statement

Live coverage of the statement to the House of Commons by defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon on military action against so-called Islamic State.


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normal for us not to have opposition day debate by this stage. In 2015 by

:00:00.:00:00.

the summary says after the general election we had already had five

:00:00.:00:08.

opposition days. Order. We are not opening up the debate, it has been

:00:09.:00:13.

dealt with. We will move onto the next business. The ministerial

:00:14.:00:16.

statement, Secretary of State for Defence. With permission, Mr Deputy

:00:17.:00:28.

Speaker, I would like to update the house on the counter Daesh campaign

:00:29.:00:34.

in Iraq and Syria and the United Kingdom's involvement in this

:00:35.:00:41.

collective effort by some 68 coalition nations, as well as the

:00:42.:00:45.

Arab league, Interpol, the European Union and Nato. On Monday, three

:00:46.:00:56.

years after be Daesh Aleida declared his so-called caliphate, victory was

:00:57.:01:11.

declared in Mosul. Today, Daesh's black flag is no longer fly. The are

:01:12.:01:19.

now only small pockets of resistance in west Mosul. I'm sure the whole

:01:20.:01:24.

House will want to join me in praising all of those involved in

:01:25.:01:30.

the operation. Over the last nine months, Iraqi security forces,

:01:31.:01:35.

including the Kurdish Peshmerga, have fought in challenging

:01:36.:01:39.

conditions to root out a callous enemy. Over 1200 Iraqi soldiers have

:01:40.:01:45.

been killed in the fight for Mosul and more than 6000 wounded. I pay

:01:46.:01:49.

tribute to the coverage and the sacrifice. They had been supported

:01:50.:01:58.

with the permission of this House since September 2014 by the RAF

:01:59.:02:01.

whose precision strikes represent two thirds of the coalition effort

:02:02.:02:05.

outside of the United States operations against more than the 750

:02:06.:02:13.

Daesh targets. The Army has trained over 58,000 Loki in -- local Iraqi

:02:14.:02:25.

personnel. The royal navy has helped to protect aircraft carriers from

:02:26.:02:29.

which strikes have been flown. The United Kingdom's cyber capability

:02:30.:02:38.

has disrupted the extremists' activity. In Iraq 1.8 million people

:02:39.:02:45.

have been freed from Daesh's Croll rule. Daesh have now lost more than

:02:46.:02:54.

70% of the territory they once occupied in Iraq, but the liberation

:02:55.:02:57.

of Mosul does not mean that by Ash has been defeated in Iraq or Syria.

:02:58.:03:09.

-- Daesh. We need no reminder of the danger they still pose. In the past

:03:10.:03:15.

few months our nation has suffered from three appalling attacks

:03:16.:03:20.

inspired by the ideology shared by Daesh. I want to update the house in

:03:21.:03:27.

three areas. First the military effort. We must ensure that there

:03:28.:03:32.

are no safe havens for Daesh in Syria and Iraq. That is why Iraqi

:03:33.:03:36.

security forces with the United Kingdom support will go on now to

:03:37.:03:46.

defeat Daesh, to uproot them from the Euphrates River Valley and clear

:03:47.:03:51.

the area of improvised explosive devices which let the lives of so

:03:52.:03:56.

many innocent civilians. As Iraq is secured, and we have months to go,

:03:57.:04:14.

we will continue in Syria. They have rejected Daesh from 51% of the

:04:15.:04:25.

provinces they occupy. The SDF are relying heavily on coalition air

:04:26.:04:31.

assets, reconnaissance and pinpoint missile strikes which we will

:04:32.:04:36.

continue to provide as part of the global coalition. As we maintain

:04:37.:04:41.

pressure on Mosul and Raqqa, we will continue to tighten the net around

:04:42.:04:47.

this callous organisation, squeezing the terrorists on simultaneous

:04:48.:04:51.

fronts, striking the senior leadership, capturing the poisonous

:04:52.:04:55.

narrative and cutting off their finances as they progressively lose

:04:56.:05:01.

access to the oil infrastructure on which they rely. Second,

:05:02.:05:07.

humanitarian aid. We will continue to provide stabilisation and

:05:08.:05:10.

humanitarian assistance. The International Development Secretary

:05:11.:05:14.

updated the house yesterday on the humanitarian response that is

:05:15.:05:19.

required in Mosul. Yet while that city can at last look forward, the

:05:20.:05:25.

humanitarian situation in Syria remains dire. 13.5 million people

:05:26.:05:31.

urgently need humanitarian assistance. 4.5 million of them are

:05:32.:05:37.

in areas which are hard to reach and 1.3 million of those living under

:05:38.:05:44.

siege like conditions. Around 100,000 civilians are estimated to

:05:45.:05:48.

be remaining in Iraq are city, caught between Daesh and Assad in

:05:49.:05:52.

desperate need of aid. Our response has been to commit 2.46 billion in

:05:53.:05:59.

support for Syria. The largest ever British response to a single

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humanitarian crisis, and all the while pushing for better access that

:06:04.:06:08.

much-needed food and medicine reach people and for an end to attacks on

:06:09.:06:13.

civilians. UK support has helped to stabilise the region more widely.

:06:14.:06:21.

Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan have become hosts to large scale simian

:06:22.:06:25.

populations and my right honourable friend the International Development

:06:26.:06:30.

Secretary's Department has ensured that those departments have been

:06:31.:06:34.

given the assistance they need in hosting large refugee populations in

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improving regional security and reducing consequent migration

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pressures in Europe. Thirdly, stronger governments. Humanitarian

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aid is only part of the answer and meaningful political settlement is

:06:50.:06:52.

needed now to guarantee sustainable peace. So we are working with our

:06:53.:06:58.

international allies to strengthen regional governments. When it comes

:06:59.:07:04.

to Iraq, the Foreign Secretary emphasise this to be Foreign

:07:05.:07:11.

Minister Jafar Read, it means inclusive politics post Mosul,

:07:12.:07:14.

allaying fears addressing the grievances that led to the rise of

:07:15.:07:19.

Daesh and sticking to the April 20 18th election timetable. In Syria

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the barbaric chemical weapons attack in April reminds us that the Assad

:07:32.:07:35.

regime is no partner for peace. We continue to work for a transition

:07:36.:07:41.

towards new governance, fully representative, that is committed to

:07:42.:07:45.

protecting the rights of everyone in Syria. It is for Syrian is to decide

:07:46.:07:51.

how that happens as part of a Syrian transition process, but to reach

:07:52.:07:57.

that goal we continue to support the work of the United Nations special

:07:58.:08:02.

envoy, as well of the political process that he is overseeing in

:08:03.:08:06.

Geneva. We are engaging as well with the opposition to help them move

:08:07.:08:11.

towards a political settlement and we use our role in the Security

:08:12.:08:17.

Council and our participation in the international similar support group

:08:18.:08:20.

to push for process. The recently negotiated ceasefire and the

:08:21.:08:26.

escalation agreement brokered by the United States, Russia and Jordan is

:08:27.:08:30.

welcome. We hope it will lead to further de-escalation agreements. It

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all depends on all the parties involved bow and we encourage them

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to comply. What will count, and we have seen these agreements before,

:08:43.:08:47.

what will count is what holds on the ground. In conclusion, Mr Deputy

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Speaker, as I took office three years ago this week, Daesh were

:08:52.:08:59.

closing in on the gates of Baghdad. Today they are a failing

:09:00.:09:03.

organisation, what one that remains a threat. Mosul has now been

:09:04.:09:08.

liberated, but the war remains to be won in Iraq as well as Syria. Our

:09:09.:09:17.

resolve is unwavering as a leading member of the coalition. We will do

:09:18.:09:23.

all we can to defeat Daesh and bring stability to the region, to provide

:09:24.:09:27.

greater security to our people and to our allies at home and abroad.

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Hear, hear. Can I thank the Secretary of State for his statement

:09:39.:09:43.

and for advance sight of it. Mr Speaker, the liberation of Mosul

:09:44.:09:47.

marks the end of three years of Daesh control of the city and we pay

:09:48.:09:50.

tribute to all of those personnel who have taken part in this

:09:51.:09:54.

campaign, especially our service men and women, who have served in the

:09:55.:10:03.

operation. Whilst the battle for Mosul has almost been concluded, we

:10:04.:10:06.

know that the fight against Daesh in Iraq and the wider region is far

:10:07.:10:10.

from over. Then I asked the Secretary of State about the nature

:10:11.:10:13.

of the support the UK will continue to provide show show -- to provide?

:10:14.:10:29.

We know our Armed Forces have taken every precaution to prevent civilian

:10:30.:10:40.

casualties. However, Amnesty International has produced a report

:10:41.:10:44.

that is highly critical of the Iraqi government and the coalition. It has

:10:45.:10:47.

been alleged that the actions of the coalition in Mosul have been

:10:48.:10:53.

disproportionate and even, I quote, unlawful. I know that Major General

:10:54.:11:01.

Rupert commander of the international anti-Daesh commission

:11:02.:11:04.

has condemned the report in the strongest possible terms, saying

:11:05.:11:10.

that it is deeply irresponsible and he has emphatically stated that we

:11:11.:11:13.

should not forget that it is Daesh who are deliberately killing

:11:14.:11:18.

civilians. Can I ask the secretary of state what his response is to the

:11:19.:11:25.

Amnesty report? The Iraqi government has concerns about the possibility

:11:26.:11:29.

of Daesh fighters crossing back into Iraq from Syria. So what role with

:11:30.:11:34.

our Armed Forces play in ensuring the security of the border between

:11:35.:11:44.

Iraq and Syria? As the operation moves from counterintelligence to

:11:45.:11:52.

counterterrorism. -- counterterrorism, come the Secretary

:11:53.:11:55.

of State update the house on the support and training that we will

:11:56.:11:59.

continue to give to the Iraqi ground forces? The campaign against Daesh

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in Syria is undoubtedly a more challenging and complex situation

:12:07.:12:14.

that in Iraq. There are limitations on what the Defence Secretary can

:12:15.:12:17.

tell the house, but can I ask the Secretary of State to be more

:12:18.:12:21.

specific on the role our Armed Forces will have in the role of

:12:22.:12:28.

liberating Raqqa from Daesh control? Finally, as the Secretary of State

:12:29.:12:36.

will be aware, a member -- members have been calling for a service

:12:37.:12:43.

medal for service men and women on this operation. It is now the time

:12:44.:12:52.

to provide proper recognition to all of those who have served on that

:12:53.:12:56.

operation and who have played a vital part in the fight against

:12:57.:13:07.

Daesh and its perverse ideology. I am grateful to the honourable member

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for what he said, particularly about the role of our service men and

:13:15.:13:23.

women. Many of them have served the nearly three years, under some

:13:24.:13:26.

intense conditions and it is right that we should across this House pay

:13:27.:13:28.

tribute to them. Is here about the next stage of this

:13:29.:13:38.

campaign. Also has not fallen and there is a pocket of resistance.

:13:39.:13:43.

Appear of our Tornado and Typhoon were over the city yesterday. There

:13:44.:13:49.

is still work to be done. There will be work to be done to assist the

:13:50.:13:55.

Iraqi forces in the capture of Tal Afar and in the campaign. The

:13:56.:14:01.

campaign goes on. It might become more complex as Daesh spreads out

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and moves to some of the less populated areas. Yasmine about the

:14:11.:14:13.

Amnesty report which I have not seen. I would certainly recommend he

:14:14.:14:24.

heeds the words of the deputy Coalition commander. I can reassure

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the host that so far as our own participation in the Coalition air

:14:30.:14:34.

strikes we carry out, these are absolutely lawful and are conducted

:14:35.:14:40.

in accordance with the law of armed conflict and international

:14:41.:14:43.

humanitarian law. We have rigorous rules of engagement. There are

:14:44.:14:54.

robust targeting features. They are aiming to strike targets with a

:14:55.:14:58.

weapon that is designed and a choice of weapon that is designed to

:14:59.:15:03.

absolutely minimise the risk of civilian casualties. And legal back

:15:04.:15:07.

afterwards to do an assessment of the blast area and whether or not

:15:08.:15:12.

there were any unforeseen consequences. And where there are

:15:13.:15:19.

allegations that there had been civilian casualties or the wrong

:15:20.:15:23.

building was hit, we on the Coalition side absolutely

:15:24.:15:28.

investigate those allegations, we publish their findings, in

:15:29.:15:33.

distinction to what the Russians have been doing in Syria, we

:15:34.:15:36.

investigate and publish findings and of mistakes were made or procedures

:15:37.:15:41.

need to be corrected then that is done. But I want to assure the House

:15:42.:15:46.

that I have seen no evidence as of yet that an RAF strike has involved

:15:47.:15:54.

civilian casualties and I wait to see that evidence being produced. If

:15:55.:15:57.

anybody has any evidence then it needs to be forwarded to us, as

:15:58.:16:03.

indeed other organisations like air awards have been doing throughout

:16:04.:16:07.

the conflict. And be ready to investigate. Otherwise I would urge

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extreme caution in the handling of the Amnesty report. The honourable

:16:13.:16:18.

gentleman asked me about the border area between Iraq and Syria, it is

:16:19.:16:23.

that metal bit of the Euphrates River valley where we anticipate

:16:24.:16:29.

Daesh will coalesce having been driven out of rancour and Syria

:16:30.:16:33.

eventually and from morsel and tell far in Iraq. And our training effort

:16:34.:16:38.

will now of course be Iraq from the training we do that Al acid airbase

:16:39.:16:44.

in Amla province, to improve the capability of the Iraqi forces to

:16:45.:16:48.

police their border having secured it. And we will be doing more of

:16:49.:16:55.

that in conjunction with our other allies. Yasmine about the campaign

:16:56.:17:01.

in Syria. We will continue with air strikes. Yesterday appear of our

:17:02.:17:06.

aircraft were in action at the edge of Iraq are assisting that campaign.

:17:07.:17:10.

There is a lot of work to be done before Raqqa is liberated and other

:17:11.:17:17.

towns in the Euphrates River Valley remain under Daesh control.

:17:18.:17:22.

Certainly the air campaign, the Intel gathering, will probably

:17:23.:17:25.

become more important as Daesh eventually start to disburse around

:17:26.:17:31.

some of these smaller towns. Finally, he asked me about metallic

:17:32.:17:37.

recognition. I think the whole house would want to see this huge effort

:17:38.:17:43.

properly rewarded. I am awaiting final advice from the military and I

:17:44.:17:48.

hope to make an announcement on that shortly. Me I firstly say to the

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Secretary of State that the reason why surely these cities have not

:18:00.:18:04.

been liberated sooner is because of the care that has been taken in the

:18:05.:18:09.

targeting of the area of bombardment? But does he accept that

:18:10.:18:16.

whereas the intervention with air strikes in Iraq was noncontroversial

:18:17.:18:20.

because we are prepared to see the army of the Iraqi government win,

:18:21.:18:27.

the same does not apply in Syria? Can he tell the House apart from the

:18:28.:18:33.

Kurdish elements in Syria, who else does he expect to run the country

:18:34.:18:39.

when Daesh's land is taken from it? If not the Syrian government, with

:18:40.:18:48.

or without Assad? Let me repeat your congratulations to my right

:18:49.:18:53.

honourable friend on resuming his chairmanship of the select

:18:54.:18:55.

committee. I look forward to working with him on that. We have always

:18:56.:19:03.

differed on the nature of the Syrian campaign and I know he has had

:19:04.:19:09.

reservations on it. I think he is right to recognise the difference.

:19:10.:19:11.

We are not working with the Syrian regime, however we do want to see

:19:12.:19:19.

Daesh driven out of Syria. It remains a threat in Syria to this

:19:20.:19:23.

country and needs to be defeated in Syria. But of course as he says we

:19:24.:19:30.

then need those parts of Syria returned to civilian control and a

:19:31.:19:40.

control that is properly involving the Arab population. That is all

:19:41.:19:44.

part of the process we are encouraging in Geneva. The solution

:19:45.:19:50.

lies in Arab led governments committee is right. Can I also thank

:19:51.:19:58.

the Defence Secretary for his statement and to put on record the

:19:59.:20:03.

tribute of the SNP to the forces involved in liberating morsel to the

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extent it has? And extend our congratulations to the right

:20:08.:20:11.

honourable gentleman, the chair of the Defence Select Committee on his

:20:12.:20:16.

real action? The whole house will welcome the diminished status that

:20:17.:20:23.

tend to know his. Pass there is a difference of opinion in how to

:20:24.:20:32.

defeat them. There are two mac specific areas of concern I would

:20:33.:20:35.

liken to address. One concerns the dramatic rise in the past few weeks

:20:36.:20:40.

in civilian casualties. In June alone, there has been a 52% increase

:20:41.:20:47.

in comparison to the month of May. Somewhere between 529 and 744,

:20:48.:20:53.

according to air awards whom he mentions in response to the shadow

:20:54.:21:08.

minister. Can the Minister outline if you will make a commitment to

:21:09.:21:15.

greater scrutiny and transparency on that. Will he ensure that there is

:21:16.:21:22.

dedicated mechanisms within operation shader for UK forces. I

:21:23.:21:27.

have written to him specifically about this. The 2015 mandate of this

:21:28.:21:37.

House was very clearly about targeting Daesh, nobody else in

:21:38.:21:41.

Syria. I tried to get some clarity from him on Monday. I don't know if

:21:42.:21:46.

he misunderstood my question, but I didn't get the clarity are seeking.

:21:47.:21:52.

Will he confirm that mandate in 2015 to target Daesh stands? And the

:21:53.:21:57.

government has no plans to expand that target to any other actor. If

:21:58.:22:02.

it does, as the US president seems to wish the United Kingdom to do, it

:22:03.:22:08.

will only happen on the back of a debate and vote for members of the

:22:09.:22:13.

House? I'm grateful to the tribute he has paid to our Armed Forces. It

:22:14.:22:19.

is worth reminding us that the Scottish Nationalist Party against

:22:20.:22:23.

military action in Iraq and Syria. It's all very well to see the now

:22:24.:22:28.

welcome the fact that Daesh has been defeated in Iraq, without air power

:22:29.:22:34.

and British air power, how much longer would Daesh have continued to

:22:35.:22:41.

behead people, to shoot people, to throw people off buildings without

:22:42.:22:45.

the involvement of 68 countries around the world? But without the

:22:46.:22:48.

support of the Scottish Nationalists. I think he should just

:22:49.:22:56.

reflect on that. So far as ten are concerned, yes we work with them

:22:57.:23:00.

when they have allegations and they suspect they might have been British

:23:01.:23:04.

aircraft in the air at the time. Look at the information, we

:23:05.:23:08.

investigated, so far we haven't found any evidence of civilian

:23:09.:23:12.

casualties being caused by British strike, but we continue to work with

:23:13.:23:22.

Air Wars. We also carry out up battle damage assessment to see what

:23:23.:23:35.

effect the strike has had. He is quite right to speak about the

:23:36.:23:39.

increase of British casualties in the final weeks of the battle in

:23:40.:23:45.

West morsel. A highly compact city. Very densely populated with Daesh

:23:46.:23:54.

shooting hostages if they tried to escape. A kind of tense urban

:23:55.:23:58.

warfare we have not seen and not been involved in since probably the

:23:59.:24:04.

Second World War. A very complex military operation. I pay tribute to

:24:05.:24:17.

those involved in doing the job and the skill of our pilots alongside

:24:18.:24:27.

the rest of the Coalition. Yasmine about the on Monday. I signed a

:24:28.:24:32.

letter yesterday. It gives clarity on the point he raises. Is the

:24:33.:24:44.

expectation of sufficient reform in Iraq realistic? Yes indeed. The

:24:45.:24:55.

government itself is representative of all parts of Iraq. The president

:24:56.:25:09.

is a my opposite number is a SUNY. The government is genuinely

:25:10.:25:19.

represents a. But it has work to do regarding some provinces in the

:25:20.:25:26.

West. They must feel part of Moder in Iraq and will be protected from

:25:27.:25:31.

any kind of sheer aggression which they have suffered from in the past.

:25:32.:25:40.

The government has lasted longer than some critics originally

:25:41.:25:58.

suggested. The Secretary of State referred twice regarding the

:25:59.:26:10.

negotiations in Geneva. He didn't mention the Russian tackiest Iranian

:26:11.:26:18.

initiative and the Astana Kazakhstan meeting. What is the British

:26:19.:26:22.

Government's assessment of the role of that process and the fact it

:26:23.:26:26.

seems to be undermining efforts in Geneva? We support any genuine

:26:27.:26:35.

efforts to reduce violence in Syria and bring the civil war to an end.

:26:36.:26:43.

Not able to endorse the process for a number of reasons... We want the

:26:44.:26:55.

kind of pluralistic governance in Syria that we now have in Iraq. And

:26:56.:27:06.

one that does not require further interference from Iran. I was

:27:07.:27:10.

delighted to share my honourable friend referring to the need for

:27:11.:27:14.

inclusive politics Post a morsel in order to win the peace, as well as

:27:15.:27:19.

the war in Iraq. Can he assure the House that the government is going

:27:20.:27:26.

to keep up pressure on the regime saw the new governor of morsel fully

:27:27.:27:29.

respect the rights of all populations living there?

:27:30.:27:36.

Absolutely, and unequivocal yes. It is so important now that the city

:27:37.:27:42.

administrations and the governments themselves get engaged in this

:27:43.:27:47.

process of political reconciliation. I continue to do that. My Foreign

:27:48.:27:52.

Office colleagues continue to urge that on the government as a

:27:53.:27:56.

precondition for the kind of reconciliation we want to see. Can I

:27:57.:28:02.

welcome the liberation of morsel and paid tribute to members of our Armed

:28:03.:28:06.

Forces who have been involved? Because of the tactics of Daesh, the

:28:07.:28:12.

costs in infrastructure to the people of morsel has been great.

:28:13.:28:19.

Kenny outline what actions will be taking to improve infrastructure of

:28:20.:28:24.

morsel and to allow the return of refugees who have fled their in the

:28:25.:28:25.

past few years? We have seen an encouraging number

:28:26.:28:40.

of people returning to East Mosul in large numbers. Markets are reopening

:28:41.:28:42.

and schools are beginning to reopen as well. East Mosul, West Mosul has

:28:43.:28:50.

been much more badly damaged than East Mosul and there is a huge

:28:51.:28:54.

amount of reconstruction to be done there. That will be led through the

:28:55.:28:58.

United nation 's development programme, to their own coordinator,

:28:59.:29:03.

but we will be playing our part in that, both financially and in terms

:29:04.:29:07.

of the organisation of that rebuilding programme as well. RAF

:29:08.:29:14.

pilots and service personnel have played a vital role in this

:29:15.:29:18.

coalition campaign, particularly my constituents flying from RAF

:29:19.:29:24.

Coningsby. Does my right honourable friend join me in thanking my

:29:25.:29:28.

constituents who have taken part in the operation and can he explain

:29:29.:29:33.

please be vital role that the RAF plays in ensuring freedom of

:29:34.:29:37.

movement on the ground enabling Iraqi forces to combat Daesh? I am

:29:38.:29:45.

grateful to my honourable friend. It is right that we pay tribute to the

:29:46.:29:49.

RAF and not just the pilots, who are always mentioned on occasions like

:29:50.:29:53.

this, but the huge numbers of other members of the RAF, the aircrew,

:29:54.:30:01.

those who service the players and guard them and those involved in

:30:02.:30:06.

intelligence work, studying and preparing the targets. It has been a

:30:07.:30:12.

massive effort. We have seen the our area -- we have seen the RAAF work

:30:13.:30:19.

at its highest tempo for over a quarter of this entry. The role of

:30:20.:30:23.

the RAF has been huge. It is noticeable that of the strikes that

:30:24.:30:28.

were not conducted by the United States in Mosul, over 60% of them

:30:29.:30:32.

were conducted by the RAF and not by any other country, simply because of

:30:33.:30:39.

the precision of our pilots, the intelligence in targeting and the

:30:40.:30:42.

precision of the weapons chosen for each of those strikes, but the RAF

:30:43.:30:52.

will be involved in support as we see Daesh moving out of these areas.

:30:53.:31:01.

Can I join the secretary of state in paying tribute to the men and women

:31:02.:31:05.

of our Armed Forces and the civilians that support them. Since

:31:06.:31:12.

the last review took place, there has been a change to our national

:31:13.:31:17.

security context, a general election and a referendum where Britain has

:31:18.:31:21.

decided to leave the European Union. Plans to government now have two --

:31:22.:31:28.

what plans do the government have two conduct a strategic security

:31:29.:31:35.

review? The campaign in Iraq is not over and has many months to run. I

:31:36.:31:43.

expect British personnel to be involved until 2018, and the

:31:44.:31:46.

situation in Syria is even more complex. The last strategic review

:31:47.:32:01.

was 18 months ago. The threat it says -- the great it set out the...

:32:02.:32:10.

That review did not forecast the referendum of the result of the

:32:11.:32:16.

referendum. I don't think we can blame defence intelligence for that.

:32:17.:32:21.

A lot of people did not protect that event, but it was only 18 months ago

:32:22.:32:25.

and of course we will have a look and see whether any of it needs any

:32:26.:32:33.

kind of refresh. The role played by British Armed Forces in mentoring

:32:34.:32:40.

and training Iraqi forces has been critical. What plans do we have for

:32:41.:32:44.

continuing this support for the Iraqi military into the future? I am

:32:45.:32:51.

grateful to my honourable friend and I pay tribute to his own service. We

:32:52.:32:58.

are in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government. Everything we have

:32:59.:33:01.

been doing as part of this coalition has been with the authority and at

:33:02.:33:07.

the request an invitation of the Iraqi government and I would

:33:08.:33:11.

anticipate, although we have not been into these discussions, that

:33:12.:33:15.

they would welcome the continuance of the coalition's training effort

:33:16.:33:20.

and support in deed of air power until Daesh is completely eliminated

:33:21.:33:30.

from its borders. We all welcome the progress made in defeating Daesh in

:33:31.:33:35.

Mosul and Raqqa and pay tribute to the bravery and tenacity of the

:33:36.:33:40.

forces on the ground and in the air in liberating so many people from

:33:41.:33:46.

Daesh's yoke. The secretary of state in great detail the detail the

:33:47.:33:53.

effort the RAF makes to avoid civilian casualties. Is he satisfied

:33:54.:34:01.

that all of our partners in the air campaign on making the same effort

:34:02.:34:11.

to avoid civilian casualties? Well the RAF -- world there are different

:34:12.:34:16.

rules of engagement for each country involved in this particular

:34:17.:34:20.

campaign. It is perfectly true there have been targets offered discussed

:34:21.:34:25.

within the coalition that we have chosen not to take and not to strike

:34:26.:34:30.

because of the rules that we apply. So each country approaches this in a

:34:31.:34:37.

slightly different way. However, so far as air strikes are concerned,

:34:38.:34:40.

the principal air forces involved are all working together all in the

:34:41.:34:46.

same headquarters and we have seen the walls that have been applied

:34:47.:34:52.

coming closer together over the duration of the campaign. It is

:34:53.:34:57.

worth saying finally that it is not possible to liberate a densely

:34:58.:35:01.

populated city like Mosul without sadly civilian casualties. That is

:35:02.:35:05.

simply not possible in those casualties of course have been made

:35:06.:35:10.

much worse by Daesh's policy of holding civilians hostage in

:35:11.:35:15.

buildings, shooting people trying to escape and generally making the

:35:16.:35:21.

population continue to suffer. Elijah with the secretary of state

:35:22.:35:27.

in paying tribute to the Armed Forces and can he reassure me that

:35:28.:35:31.

he is working closely with my right honourable friend for Bedfordshire

:35:32.:35:38.

Northeast, whom we all welcome back to the front bench, and with our

:35:39.:35:42.

allies in the region to ensure that as Daesh is pushed back, its

:35:43.:35:46.

fighters are contained and not displaced to pop up elsewhere in the

:35:47.:35:53.

region? Yes, this is an increasing part of the work of the counter

:35:54.:35:56.

Daesh coalition in which I participate so far as the defence

:35:57.:36:01.

effort is concerned, but my right honourable friend the Foreign

:36:02.:36:04.

Secretary and my colleague the Minister for the Middle East

:36:05.:36:08.

participate in in terms of foreign policy. We work across the coalition

:36:09.:36:13.

to ensure we can share intelligence on returning fighters, that we can

:36:14.:36:19.

explore how the Daesh leadership can now be held properly to account, let

:36:20.:36:24.

us not forget those British hostages who were beheaded two or three years

:36:25.:36:30.

ago and that where possible, those who committed these most heinous

:36:31.:36:33.

crimes can now be brought to justice. With more Yazidi women

:36:34.:36:43.

being freed this week with the liberation of Mosul, I wonder if the

:36:44.:36:45.

Secretary of State could say something about the particular case

:36:46.:36:52.

of the Yazidis and whether the government can come to a conclusion

:36:53.:36:57.

as to whether the treatment by Daesh is genocide? We are continuing to

:36:58.:37:02.

look for more evidence, specifically in relation to the Yazidis. We are

:37:03.:37:10.

accumulating evidence across the board as well so that those who are

:37:11.:37:16.

eventually detained can be properly held to account and that is

:37:17.:37:18.

something we are working at across the coalition. Will my right

:37:19.:37:25.

honourable friend join me in paying particular tribute to the Kurdish

:37:26.:37:34.

Peshmerga services who made an outstanding contribution in the

:37:35.:37:37.

defeat of Daesh and can he confirm that we are giving them all the

:37:38.:37:43.

support in training and weaponry and also medical care for the wounded?

:37:44.:37:48.

Is there not a case to provide specialist care here in the UK for

:37:49.:37:54.

the most badly wounded? I know the Minister for the Middle East is

:37:55.:38:00.

looking at that specific point, but I would also like to pay tribute to

:38:01.:38:07.

them and what has been an all Iraq effort. There has not been a

:38:08.:38:12.

distinction as people feared. The campaign to liberate Mosul was

:38:13.:38:14.

conducted by agreement between the different parts of the Iraqi forces

:38:15.:38:26.

and has been done so successfully. We did our part in training the

:38:27.:38:37.

Peshmerga and we train them so that the number of casualties could be

:38:38.:38:47.

reduced. Can I welcome the secretary of state's statements and agree with

:38:48.:38:54.

him that part of, an important part of moving forward is to counter the

:38:55.:39:01.

ideology of Daesh. One of the most eloquent ways that can happen is by

:39:02.:39:04.

demonstrating through the reconstruction of Mosul and Raqqa

:39:05.:39:08.

through the establishments of law and order and security for the

:39:09.:39:12.

people who live there that there are better systems of governing than

:39:13.:39:20.

those provided by Isil? Absolutely and that must be central to the work

:39:21.:39:24.

of stabilisation and reconciliation, that we have a form of governance in

:39:25.:39:29.

Mosul and the Council there and the wider provincial government that is

:39:30.:39:34.

genuinely representative of all interest in Mosul, and Mosul is a

:39:35.:39:42.

very complexity. All those living there need a proper stake in its

:39:43.:39:45.

future and we don't see the kind of conditions emerge under which

:39:46.:39:53.

something like Daesh can flourish. I would like to join others in

:39:54.:39:56.

welcoming the statements from the Secretary of State today and the

:39:57.:40:02.

liberation of Mosul. But as Daesh is defeated, I wonder if the Secretary

:40:03.:40:06.

of State can explain what steps have been taken by government to deal

:40:07.:40:09.

with the threat of dangerous individuals who seek to return to

:40:10.:40:16.

the UK? Part of the work that is being done in the coalition is to

:40:17.:40:20.

recover sensitive material in both Mosul and Raqqa as the Civic

:40:21.:40:27.

Democratic forces move into Raqqa to recover the kind of sensitive

:40:28.:40:30.

material that will enable us to track down some particularly those

:40:31.:40:34.

British foreign fighters who have been based in either city, or indeed

:40:35.:40:40.

for a fighters in those cities who have been involved in external

:40:41.:40:44.

attack planning against the cities of western Europe. We are urgently

:40:45.:40:48.

trying to recover that material which will enable us to identify

:40:49.:40:51.

more of those who are involved in that kind of planning and therefore

:40:52.:40:57.

ensure that they are detained and properly held to account. On the

:40:58.:41:06.

same theme, the Minister, the Secretary of State referred to

:41:07.:41:09.

Interpol. We note that would-be capacity returnees from Iraq,

:41:10.:41:17.

welcome though the liberation of Mosul is, this does close challenge

:41:18.:41:20.

to our already overstretched intelligence and counterterrorism

:41:21.:41:25.

services. Camber secretary of the state of the house that he

:41:26.:41:38.

the government 's -- Camber Secretary of State tell the House

:41:39.:41:48.

that resources will be forthcoming. We are working with police forces

:41:49.:41:54.

across the region to share intelligence and we will have better

:41:55.:41:56.

information when they attempt to cross the border back into Western

:41:57.:42:01.

Europe and that we each understand how we are likely now to prosecute

:42:02.:42:06.

those who have been involved in the fighting. Will my honourable friend

:42:07.:42:19.

agreed that we should pay special tribute to the Kurdistan region

:42:20.:42:22.

because they are building democracy and they have a rule of law and they

:42:23.:42:27.

played a huge part in defeating Daesh. Can he guarantee that we will

:42:28.:42:37.

do everything to build the emerging democracy? : I congratulate my

:42:38.:42:56.

honourable friend for his election to the chair of the education

:42:57.:43:00.

committee. We want to see the economy of that region improve and

:43:01.:43:09.

the stability of the region improve. The future of Iraq in the end is for

:43:10.:43:18.

the Iraqi people to determine. The fact that there is currently no

:43:19.:43:22.

evidence that there has been a single civilian casualty from an RAF

:43:23.:43:30.

strike in this campaign is extraordinary and commendable, but

:43:31.:43:36.

further to the question that my right honourable friend asked, what

:43:37.:43:41.

influence can be UK Armed Forces play on some of our coalition

:43:42.:43:48.

partners where clearly the rules of engagement have been different and

:43:49.:43:52.

the civilian death toll has been higher.

:43:53.:43:56.

I was very careful, I hope, to remind the House that this is war.

:43:57.:44:02.

Whilst we do everything is a Coalition to try and minimise the

:44:03.:44:06.

risk of civilian casualties, it is not possible to eliminate the risk

:44:07.:44:11.

entirely when you are freeing or trying to free cities from this kind

:44:12.:44:15.

of terrorism. I was equally careful to say there is no evidence yet of

:44:16.:44:23.

an RAF strike. I'm not claiming that it might never be the case, but so

:44:24.:44:28.

far no evidence has been presented to us. We work across the Coalition

:44:29.:44:35.

with the other countries involved in air strikes to ensure that broadly

:44:36.:44:40.

we are applying the same rules of engagement and are selecting the

:44:41.:44:51.

same targets. Institutions like mosques and hospitals are on our no

:44:52.:45:10.

strike risks and so on. When you have investigated it, you want to

:45:11.:45:17.

try to publish the findings. When you have investigated it, you need

:45:18.:45:22.

to set out how it will be put right. The atrocities of Daesh have failed

:45:23.:45:29.

to deliver the so-called caliphate. As they are flushed out of morsel,

:45:30.:45:33.

they will convene in other parts of Iraq and Syria. We must recognise

:45:34.:45:41.

our military will continue to play a role in defeating Daesh for a

:45:42.:45:46.

considerable time to come. The military campaign is not over yet in

:45:47.:45:54.

Iraq or indeed in Syria. We have every interest in staying the course

:45:55.:46:02.

because we need to keep our country safe. There are people still in Iraq

:46:03.:46:10.

itself who wish as harm. We want to carry out -- in Raqqa itself. We

:46:11.:46:14.

must not rest until the threat is removed. We must pay attention to

:46:15.:46:21.

what the Iraqi authorities want and the scale of the training they may

:46:22.:46:27.

now require. It is good to see so many people joining for my question.

:46:28.:46:33.

I want to add my tribute to our amazing Armed Forces who have acted

:46:34.:46:37.

with bravery and dedication during this conflict. Given the special

:46:38.:46:47.

role the Army has played in training and the depth and breadth of

:46:48.:46:51.

complexity in operations the Army now faces in this theatre and around

:46:52.:46:55.

the world, with the Secretary of State agree with me this would be

:46:56.:46:59.

the wrong time to reduce the number of our regular army personnel? And

:47:00.:47:04.

grateful to the tribute EP to our Armed Forces. He will have heard

:47:05.:47:08.

earlier what I said on the issue of metallic recognition for this

:47:09.:47:13.

particular campaign. We have no plans to cut the size of our Army.

:47:14.:47:18.

Our manifesto commitment was clear. We will maintain the size of our

:47:19.:47:26.

Armed Forces. Thank you. The liberation of morsel is a very

:47:27.:47:30.

significant moment in our battle against Daesh. With the Secretary of

:47:31.:47:33.

State agree with me the real victory will be the creation of a modern

:47:34.:47:38.

Iraq a state which is capable of governing itself for all the people

:47:39.:47:42.

of Iraq and making sure that it resists any infiltration by Daesh as

:47:43.:47:49.

we clear it out of Iraqi territory? I absolutely agree. That kind of

:47:50.:47:55.

moderate Iraqi state my honourable friend aspires to would not only of

:47:56.:47:59.

course reduce any threat to our country but it would be good for the

:48:00.:48:03.

region and the stability of the region as well. Iraq is already a

:48:04.:48:08.

democracy, a fragile democracy, but it is a democracy. It has called on

:48:09.:48:13.

its friends and allies around the world. And I welcome the Minister's

:48:14.:48:26.

statement and thank him for his commitment and leadership and to our

:48:27.:48:29.

soldiers for the significant contribution they made to delivering

:48:30.:48:38.

the peace? Peshmerga have been out part of the forces defeating Daesh.

:48:39.:48:47.

They seek the release of monies held in Baghdad for reconstruction. In

:48:48.:48:52.

other words, to deliver the transition to new governance

:48:53.:48:57.

protecting the rights of everyone. With the Minister agree to these

:48:58.:49:03.

issues being done right away? I'm grateful for the personal words with

:49:04.:49:08.

which he began. There are discussions now under way between

:49:09.:49:12.

the Kurdish authorities and the authorities in Baghdad on precisely

:49:13.:49:17.

those issues. We encourage them. In the end, this has to be further our

:49:18.:49:22.

disputes of this Kangas has to be resolved the different parties. The

:49:23.:49:30.

progress militarily in morsel is welcome. But the poisonous ideology

:49:31.:49:42.

that underpins Isil still continues. What is happening about any of those

:49:43.:49:49.

who choose to return home so we can apprehend them and make sure they

:49:50.:49:54.

are not a danger to UK citizens? On the first point, we have not yet

:49:55.:50:01.

defeated the virtual caliphate. It is important we know across the

:50:02.:50:04.

Coalition intensify our efforts to destroy that caliphate in cyberspace

:50:05.:50:10.

as effectively as we are beginning to undermine it in Iraq itself.

:50:11.:50:16.

Sarfaraz Khan returning fighters are concerned, it is predominantly a

:50:17.:50:22.

matter for the Home Secretary. However, fighting and working for

:50:23.:50:27.

Daesh, it is a proscribed organisation, fighting for Daesh is

:50:28.:50:31.

a criminal offence. With those people can be properly prosecuted,

:50:32.:50:37.

they will be charged on their return. In December 2015, we were

:50:38.:50:45.

assured that with the support of UK in air strikes, we could expect to

:50:46.:50:49.

see a traditional government in Syria in six months and there were a

:50:50.:51:02.

ground troops ready to carry out operations? How many of those 70,000

:51:03.:51:10.

ground troops ever actually existed? Of course we want to see Syria moves

:51:11.:51:16.

towards a new political settlement and we continue to encourage that.

:51:17.:51:21.

So far as the existence of moderate armed opposition in Syria is

:51:22.:51:25.

concerned, I'm sure the honourable member understands this civil war

:51:26.:51:30.

would not be in its seventh year if there had not been formidable

:51:31.:51:34.

moderate armed opposition to the Syrian regime. Who does he think has

:51:35.:51:41.

been fighting Assad? But during this time, since December 2015, it is

:51:42.:51:44.

important to recognise the progress that has been made in reducing Daesh

:51:45.:51:51.

itself. In reducing the amount of Syrian territory that it holds, in

:51:52.:51:56.

starting the battle to defeat it in its capital in Raqqa and thus

:51:57.:52:03.

overall to reduce the threat that Daesh posies to the United Kingdom.

:52:04.:52:07.

And I'm only sorry that although we have the support of 67 other

:52:08.:52:10.

countries round-the-world trip we did not have the support of the

:52:11.:52:17.

Scottish National Party. Eye to welcome the Secretary of State's

:52:18.:52:20.

statement. I welcome his comment about reducing the risk in the

:52:21.:52:24.

number of civilian casualties. Perhaps the benefit of those who

:52:25.:52:28.

have just entered the chamber committee could repeat the number of

:52:29.:52:33.

civilian casualties and repeat his confirmation and assurance he will

:52:34.:52:37.

do all he can to reduce further such risks in future? And grateful to my

:52:38.:52:41.

honourable friend, but I'm not sure the Speaker would welcome me

:52:42.:52:47.

repeating a statement have already given. What I want to emphasise I

:52:48.:52:52.

believe it is because of the rules of engagement we set, because of the

:52:53.:52:58.

careful use of intelligence and reconnaissance from the air, because

:52:59.:53:02.

of the skill of our pilots and because of the precision of the

:53:03.:53:05.

weapons that are selected for each strike that we are able to say to

:53:06.:53:09.

the best of our knowledge we have not caused significant civilian

:53:10.:53:16.

casualties on the ground. Thank you. I'd like to join with the Secretary

:53:17.:53:22.

of State and members of all parties in praising the work of our men and

:53:23.:53:28.

women in all three services. Does he agree the important and prominent

:53:29.:53:39.

role played by the air force and navy highlights our important role

:53:40.:53:46.

in assisting United States? The US has led this Coalition and I was

:53:47.:53:49.

able to review the next steps in Iraq and Syria when I met the United

:53:50.:53:56.

States Defence Secretary in Washington last Friday. He and his

:53:57.:54:00.

predecessor played a key role in leading this Coalition. They are,

:54:01.:54:05.

like us, we want to see us move on in Iraq to the work of stabilisation

:54:06.:54:10.

and reconciliation that must follow the military campaign. I to pay

:54:11.:54:18.

tribute to all those who have served so diligently to make such progress.

:54:19.:54:28.

My honourable friend rightly mentioned in closing his statement

:54:29.:54:33.

today the determination we need to battle this warped ideology and make

:54:34.:54:36.

the long-term stability in the region. But what we assurance can

:54:37.:54:40.

give to my constituents and all communities across the UK that this

:54:41.:54:45.

government is determined to share intelligence through Brexit and

:54:46.:54:51.

beyond to keep us all safer? Absolutely. We have made it clear

:54:52.:54:59.

that beyond Brexit we want to continue the various arrangements

:55:00.:55:03.

there are four security cooperation across Europe, including

:55:04.:55:06.

coordination between our intelligence agencies and the work

:55:07.:55:10.

of police in tracking foreign fighters. It is only by working

:55:11.:55:15.

together that we can ensure that this ideology is defeated, not

:55:16.:55:19.

simply in Iraq but on the wider basis. I am returning to the

:55:20.:55:27.

question of the skill of our pilots in terms of avoiding civilian

:55:28.:55:30.

casualties wherever possible. Could you please confirm this extends down

:55:31.:55:34.

to the selection of hot and cold targets, so that targets can be

:55:35.:55:38.

changed even at the last moment to avoid those casualties? Well, yes,

:55:39.:55:43.

these are operational matters for decision by our commanders out in

:55:44.:55:51.

the Gulf. But these are things that they keep under review before each

:55:52.:55:55.

mission is planned and well each mission is being carried out. And we

:55:56.:55:59.

had evidence of that yesterday in the strikes that a pair of Tornado

:56:00.:56:06.

and typhoons together took in both Raqqa and morsel on the same day.

:56:07.:56:14.

Thank you. I welcome the Secretary of State's statement. Like him, I

:56:15.:56:22.

welcome the fact the RAF played a key role in defeating Daesh on the

:56:23.:56:27.

battlefield. My concern is that they will now become a real organisation.

:56:28.:56:33.

What support will be given to assist local forces to assist them with a

:56:34.:56:36.

gorilla War zone? In strengthening their police, not

:56:37.:56:51.

simply the military so they are better equipped to deal with the

:56:52.:56:56.

threat of insurgency when the final remnants of Daesh go underground,

:56:57.:57:00.

particularly in the Euphrates River Valley. Defeating Daesh in one of

:57:01.:57:12.

its time capital is is a key step in demolishing the myth of a caliphate.

:57:13.:57:16.

In the statement, he also refers to undermining positive ideology

:57:17.:57:26.

elsewhere -- poisonous ideology. Were working with colleagues in the

:57:27.:57:35.

Coalition to deal with the extremist ideology. Were working to counteract

:57:36.:57:47.

it in cyberspace, taking down messages posted in the air, and were

:57:48.:57:55.

working at home on steps to improve the de-radicalisation effort where

:57:56.:57:58.

extremism exists in colleges or in the mosques and elsewhere. We work

:57:59.:58:03.

with the Muslim community to make sure it is properly recognised and

:58:04.:58:05.

tackled. I'd like to ask the Secretary of

:58:06.:58:16.

State, the war against Daesh is a complex form of unconventional

:58:17.:58:23.

warfare, cyber, propaganda, whatever, can my right honourable

:58:24.:58:29.

friend ensure this war will be properly studied and lessons

:58:30.:58:35.

learned? There is a tendency to see unconventional warfare as a one-off

:58:36.:58:43.

but it is more becoming the norm? That is a very important point and I

:58:44.:58:47.

hope that is recognised in the strategic review we carried out in

:58:48.:58:52.

2015. This is a war that has had to be fought using the full spectrum of

:58:53.:59:00.

responses, fought predominantly by local forces but requiring a

:59:01.:59:04.

spectrum of responses across the political domains and it's very

:59:05.:59:07.

important that we recognise this may well become the kind

:59:08.:59:09.