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Iraq: Minority Groups

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 55036, tabled on 28 November 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies on provision of support for Iraqi security forces of recent attacks on Shi'as and other and other religious minorities.

Answered on

5 December 2016

The UK commends the progress of Iraqi security forces in reclaiming territory from Daesh, including in the continuing operation to liberate Mosul. We recognise their bravery and sacrifice. The UK continues to support them in this effort. We are providing close air support and crucial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to target Daesh's communications, command and control, and infrastructure. As of 17 November, the RAF has carried out 1071 airstrikes in Iraq – the second highest number behind the US. We have also gifted counter-IED equipment, over 50 tonnes of non-lethal support such as body armour and medical supplies, 40 heavy machine guns, ammunition and around £600,000 worth of military equipment to help Iraqi forces in the fight against Daesh.

We condemn in the strongest terms Daesh's cowardly terrorist attacks on innocent civilians, regardless of the religious or ethnic background of those targeted, including the killing of over 75 Shia pilgrims on 24 November near Hilla. The Iraqi security forces are working to prevent such attacks. Ultimately, the only way to protect civilians and safeguard minority communities in Iraq is to defeat Daesh and deliver national reconciliation. The UK will continue to strongly support Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi and his government in their efforts to deliver the political reform and reconciliation needed to unite all of Iraq's people against extremism.