Military Action Against IS Statement House of Commons

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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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


including the Kurdish Peshmerga, have fought in challenging


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


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


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


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


whose precision strikes represent two thirds of the coalition effort


outside of the United States operations against more than the 750


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


few months our nation has suffered from three appalling attacks


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


assets, reconnaissance and pinpoint missile strikes which we will


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


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


this callous organisation, squeezing the terrorists on simultaneous


fronts, striking the senior leadership, capturing the poisonous


narrative and cutting off their finances as they progressively lose


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


humanitarian aid. We will continue to provide stabilisation and


humanitarian assistance. The International Development Secretary


updated the house yesterday on the humanitarian response that is


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


humanitarian situation in Syria remains dire. 13.5 million people


urgently need humanitarian assistance. 4.5 million of them are


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


populations and my right honourable friend the International Development


Secretary's Department has ensured that those departments have been


given the assistance they need in hosting large refugee populations in


improving regional security and reducing consequent migration


pressures in Europe. Thirdly, stronger governments. Humanitarian


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


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


international allies to strengthen regional governments. When it comes


to Iraq, the Foreign Secretary emphasise this to be Foreign


Minister Jafar Read, it means inclusive politics post Mosul,


allaying fears addressing the grievances that led to the rise of


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


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


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


towards new governance, fully representative, that is committed to


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


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


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


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


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


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


Council and our participation in the international similar support group


to push for process. The recently negotiated ceasefire and the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


casualties. However, Amnesty International has produced a report


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


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


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


Rupert commander of the international anti-Daesh commission


has condemned the report in the strongest possible terms, saying


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


should not forget that it is Daesh who are deliberately killing


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


Amnesty report? The Iraqi government has concerns about the possibility


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


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


Iraq and Syria? As the operation moves from counterintelligence to


counterterrorism. -- counterterrorism, come the Secretary


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


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


in Syria is undoubtedly a more challenging and complex situation


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


in accordance with the law of armed conflict and international


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


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


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


absolutely minimise the risk of civilian casualties. And legal back


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


there were any unforeseen consequences. And where there are


allegations that there had been civilian casualties or the wrong


building was hit, we on the Coalition side absolutely


investigate those allegations, we publish their findings, in


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


investigate and publish findings and of mistakes were made or procedures


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


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


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


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


indeed other organisations like air awards have been doing throughout


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


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


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


that metal bit of the Euphrates River valley where we anticipate


Daesh will coalesce having been driven out of rancour and Syria


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


towns in the Euphrates River Valley remain under Daesh control.


Certainly the air campaign, the Intel gathering, will probably


become more important as Daesh eventually start to disburse around


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


whereas the intervention with air strikes in Iraq was noncontroversial


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


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


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


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


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


honourable friend on resuming his chairmanship of the select


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


extent it has? And extend our congratulations to the right


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


dedicated mechanisms within operation shader for UK forces. I


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


House was very clearly about targeting Daesh, nobody else in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


is worth reminding us that the Scottish Nationalist Party against


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


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


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


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


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


support of the Scottish Nationalists. I think he should just


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The government has lasted longer than some critics originally


suggested. The Secretary of State referred twice regarding the


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


initiative and the Astana Kazakhstan meeting. What is the British


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


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


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


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


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


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


delighted to share my honourable friend referring to the need for


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


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


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


respect the rights of all populations living there?


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


administrations and the governments themselves get engaged in this


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


Office colleagues continue to urge that on the government as a


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


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


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


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


Kenny outline what actions will be taking to improve infrastructure of


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


past few years? We have seen an encouraging number


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


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


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


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


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


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


of the organisation of that rebuilding programme as well. RAF


pilots and service personnel have played a vital role in this


coalition campaign, particularly my constituents flying from RAF


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


what plans do the government have two conduct a strategic security


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


expect British personnel to be involved until 2018, and the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the request an invitation of the Iraqi government and I would


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


rules of engagement for each country involved in this particular


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


populated city like Mosul without sadly civilian casualties. That is


simply not possible in those casualties of course have been made


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


buildings, shooting people trying to escape and generally making the


population continue to suffer. Elijah with the secretary of state


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


he is working closely with my right honourable friend for Bedfordshire


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


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


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


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


Daesh coalition in which I participate so far as the defence


effort is concerned, but my right honourable friend the Foreign


Secretary and my colleague the Minister for the Middle East


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Secretary of State could say something about the particular case


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


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


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


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


eventually detained can be properly held to account and that is


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


honourable friend join me in paying particular tribute to the Kurdish


Peshmerga services who made an outstanding contribution in the


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


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


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


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


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


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


distinction as people feared. The campaign to liberate Mosul was


conducted by agreement between the different parts of the Iraqi forces


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


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


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


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


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


demonstrating through the reconstruction of Mosul and Raqqa


through the establishments of law and order and security for the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


welcoming the statements from the Secretary of State today and the


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


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


with the threat of dangerous individuals who seek to return to


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


recover sensitive material in both Mosul and Raqqa as the Civic


Democratic forces move into Raqqa to recover the kind of sensitive


material that will enable us to track down some particularly those


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


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


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


trying to recover that material which will enable us to identify


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


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


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


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


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


to our already overstretched intelligence and counterterrorism


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


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


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


across the region to share intelligence and we will have better


information when they attempt to cross the border back into Western


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


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


agreed that we should pay special tribute to the Kurdistan region


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


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


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


honourable friend for his election to the chair of the education


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


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


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


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


strike in this campaign is extraordinary and commendable, but


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


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


partners where clearly the rules of engagement have been different and


the civilian death toll has been higher.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


with bravery and dedication during this conflict. Given the special


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


soldiers for the significant contribution they made to delivering


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


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


other words, to deliver the transition to new governance


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


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


which he began. There are discussions now under way between


the Kurdish authorities and the authorities in Baghdad on precisely


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


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


progress militarily in morsel is welcome. But the poisonous ideology


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


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


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


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


Coalition intensify our efforts to destroy that caliphate in cyberspace


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


Sarfaraz Khan returning fighters are concerned, it is predominantly a


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


number of civilian casualties. Perhaps the benefit of those who


have just entered the chamber committee could repeat the number of


civilian casualties and repeat his confirmation and assurance he will


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


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


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


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


careful use of intelligence and reconnaissance from the air, because


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


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


the best of our knowledge we have not caused significant civilian


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


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


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


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


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


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


States Defence Secretary in Washington last Friday. He and his


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


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


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


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


My honourable friend rightly mentioned in closing his statement


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


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


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


government is determined to share intelligence through Brexit and


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


that beyond Brexit we want to continue the various arrangements


there are four security cooperation across Europe, including


coordination between our intelligence agencies and the work


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


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


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


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


casualties wherever possible. Could you please confirm this extends down


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


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


these are operational matters for decision by our commanders out in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


gorilla War zone? In strengthening their police, not


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


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


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


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


In the statement, he also refers to undermining positive ideology


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


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


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


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


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


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


tackled. I'd like to ask the Secretary of


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


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


friend ensure this war will be properly studied and lessons


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


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


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


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


responses, fought predominantly by local forces but requiring a


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


important that we recognise this may well become the kind