Saturday 23 September 2017

Air strikes will need to go on for years, says minister

British Prime Minister David Cameron announces that the UK will join the air campaign against ISIL as he addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York. Reuters
British Prime Minister David Cameron announces that the UK will join the air campaign against ISIL as he addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York. Reuters
Mariam Al Mansouri, the first Emirati female fighter jet pilot gives the thumbs up as she sits in the cockpit of an aircraft, in United Arab Emirates. AP Photo
Residents inspect a damaged site after what activists say were four air strikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Douma, eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus. Reuters
An injured man gestures amid rubble after what activists say were four air strikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Douma, eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus. Reuters
Kurdish Syrian refugees carry their belongings after crossing the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province. Reuters
Kurdish Syrian refugees stand in a truck at the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province. Reuters
A member of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent carries a Kurdish Syrian refugee girl to the first aid tent after crossing the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province. Reuters
A Syrian soldier stands on a damaged tank after government forces recaptured the Damascus suburb of Adra, Syria. AP Photo
Shi'ite fighters, who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against militants of the Islamic State, take part in field training in the desert region between Kerbala and Najaf, south of Baghdad. Reuters

Steven Swinford

Britain's armed forces will be involved in Iraq for the "long haul" of at least three or four years to ensure Isil is defeated.

Defence secretary Michael Fallon made the announcement yesterday speaking the day before parliament was due to vote on approval for air strikes on Syria.

The British cabinet has been meeting in Downing Street to discuss the exact wording of the motion to be debated by MPs in tomorrow's debate.

Last night, Prime Minister David Cameron, attending the United Nations in New York, warned that Britain must not be so "frozen with fear" of repeating the mistakes of the Iraq War that it failed to take on the "psychopathic, murderous, brutal" jihadis of Isil

"We are facing an evil against which the whole world must unite. And, as ever in the cause of freedom, democracy and justice, Britain will play its part," he said in an impassioned address to the UN General Assembly. Yesterday France carried out more airs trikes against Isil in Iraq and said it was considering extending its attacks to Syria after the beheading of a French tourist by Isil-linked Islamists in Algeria.

President Francois Hollande's office also announced that France will boost its support for Syrian opposition forces fighting Isil, and said security would be stepped up across France in public spaces and on public transport.

The announcements came after Mr Hollande chaired a war cabinet meeting convened after the murder of a French tourist by a group calling itself Jund al-Khilafah (Soldiers of the Caliphate), which has pledged allegiance to Isil.

Security measures had already been increased across France after the country started airstrikes in Iraq last Friday, becoming the first country to join the US-led air campaign against Isil, which has seized control of swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Earlier in London defence secretary Michael Fallon cautioned against expectations of rapid results in the fight against Isil: "John Kerry [the US secretary of state] has estimated two to three years, that looks like a long haul to me. But we have to face up to this.

"I was really struck at the NATO summit by countries as far apart as Norway and Australia concerned about returning fighters, about the threat from reimporting terrorism.

"We all have a very direct interest. Britain does above all, we've seen already terrorist attacks here, the London Tube, London buses, the murder of Lee Rigby, the attack on Glasgow airport, we've already been under attack from this kind of extremism and we have to deal with it.

"Everything we are doing in Iraq we are authorised to do. And that doesn't apply to Syria, so it's a different legal situation and it's also a different military situation because of Syria's quite formidable air defence system. So clearly any approach in Syria will have to be different to that in Iraq.

"The main difference is Syria's air defence system, and the fact that the picture in Syria is more complicated.

"You've got Assad's forces fighting the opposition groups, including moderate opposition groups, but the enemy is Isil.," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

Editors Choice

Also in World News