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The British Army in Iraq

The UK is playing a leading role in the 67 member Global Coalition (GC) committed to defeating Daesh – the coalition includes Iraq, European nations and the US. UK personnel are not in a combat role in Iraq (Operation SHADER) but are on the ground with coalition partners providing training and equipment to Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Kurdish Security Forces (KSF).

Progress of the military campaign

The British Army is using hard won experience and skills from Afghanistan to help the ISF and KSF take the fight to Daesh. The ISF and KSF are eager to learn and build on recent operational successes and the training being delivered by the UK troops has made a real difference on the ground.
  • Daesh now holds only 10% of Iraqi territory, and has lost 50% of the territory it once occupied in Iraq and only 20% in Syria.
  • In Iraq, UK and Coalition support for local forces has liberated Ramadi, Rutbah, Hit, Fallujah and Qayyarah. Further north, operations for the clearance of Mosul is underway.
  • The flow of foreign fighters has fallen by up to 90% and desertions are increasing. The UK has supported successful efforts to improve international coordination, through the UN and other bodies. At least 50 countries and the UN now pass fighter profiles to Interpol – a 400% increase over two years.
  • According to the office of Migration, more than 887,000 refugees have returned to their homes.



  • We’ve trained more than 25,000 Iraqi forces (including over 6,600 Kurdish Peshmerga) in infantry and weapons maintenance, counter IED, medical and engineering skills. This is already saving lives and contributing to recent successful operations.
  • Following additional deployments, we will have up to 1400 UK military and civilian personnel supporting Counter-Daesh operations.
  • Personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force are manning crucial roles with the Global Coalition's headquarters throughout the Middle-East, including in Baghdad where there are UK advisors working alongside Iraqi military personnel in the Iraqi Operational Command.
RAMC personnel operating alongside Coalition Partners at Al Assad Airbase providing vital medical support and training in support of Op SHADER.

Royal Army Medical Corps personnel operating alongside Coalition Partners at Al Assad Airbase providing vital medical support and training in support of Op SHADER.

The UK also has a major role in the coalition air campaign, providing close air support to ISF ground operations and a significant proportion of the coalition’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance product.


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