British Defense Secretary visits northern Iraq

Michael Fallon reiterates his country's support to Peshmerga forces

British Defense Secretary visits northern Iraq

World Bulletin / News Desk

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon reiterated his country's support to Peshmerga forces, in an official visit to the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq on Sunday, Iraqi prime ministry said.

Fallon met KRG President Massoud Barzani and his Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani separately in Salah ad-Din city of Erbil, capital of KRG administration.

In his meeting with the president, anti-ISIL campaign in Mosul, situation of the city following the liberation from the extrem group, and political developments in Iraq were discussed comprehensively, said the presidency in a statement.

Fallon highlighted U.K.’s support to Peshmerga forces' counter-extremism efforts, it added.

In another statement, the Prime Minister’s office said that Nechervan Barzani and Fallon agreed that military experts from the Peshmerga forces would be sent to the U.K. as part of their modernization process.

Speaking to reporters at a Peshmerga training camp later in the day, Fallon said 25,000 ISIL extremists have been killed by the British and its allies in international coalition forces in Iraq so far.

He noted that ISIL suffered heavy losses in the country and currently controls only 10 percent of Iraqi land.

“Now, approximately two million civilians can return to the areas secured from ISIL,” he said.

U.K. is a member of the US-led anti-ISIL international coalition fighting the extremist group in Iraq.

“The coalition forces have trained 7,000 Peshmerga elements so far," Fallon told reporters.

In October, the Iraqi army -- backed by a U.S.-led air coalition and local allies on the ground -- began a wide-ranging campaign to retake the northern city of Mosul, which ISIL overran in mid-2014.

In January, the Iraqi army announced the "total liberation" of eastern Mosul -- after three months of fighting -- from the grip of the extremist group.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Şubat 2017, 00:51
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