Actions to counter ISIL


On Friday 26 September the Prime Minister spoke in Parliament on the UK’s role in tackling ISIL in Iraq (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). The Prime Minister said:

ISIL is a terrorist organisation unlike those we have dealt with before. The brutality is staggering, but it is not just the brutality; it is backed by billions of dollars and has captured an arsenal of the most modern weapons.

This is not a threat on the far side of the world: left unchecked, we will face a terrorist caliphate on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO member, with a declared and proven determination to attack our country and our people.

Read the full Hansard transcript.

The Deputy Prime Minister gave the closing speech in Parliament.

Read the Prime Minister’s closing speech at the UN General Assembly anda summary of the government legal position on military action in Iraq againstISIL.

We are working closely with our allies to drive back, dismantle and ultimately destroy ISIL and what it stands for. We will defeat ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.


Working with the Iraqi government

We will work with the Iraqi government to ensure it represents all its people, and is able to tackle this threat effectively.

We will support the Kurdish regional government, who are holding the front line against ISIL. We will help them protect their own people - and the minorities, including Christians, they have helped already - through our supplies of ammunition and through training.

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United Nations support

We will work at the UN to mobilise the broadest possible support to bear down on ISIL. Read the Prime Minister’s closing speech at the UN General Assembly.

The Prime Minister spoke to Ban Ki-moon on 8 September 2014 to seek support at the United Nations for a broad-based international effort to confront ISIL.

We co-sponsored the resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council on 1 September 2014, which highlights ISIL’s abhorrent actions and commits to a team of experts going to Iraq to investigate these atrocities.

The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond travelled to Paris on 15 September to discuss the global threat of ISIL and met with the Iraqi Foreign Minister. The meeting provided an opportunity for almost 20 allies to discuss their strategy for combating this threat.

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Military support

Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 aircraft have been in action over Iraq as part of the international coalition’s operations to support the democratic Iraqi government in the fight against ISIL.

British Tornados and surveillance aircraft have also been helping with intelligence gathering and logistics. This is not about British combat troops on the ground. It is about working with others to extinguish this terrorist threat.

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Humanitarian aid

We will continue to support the enormous humanitarian efforts to help the millions of people who have fled ISIL and are now living in appalling conditions.

The Department for International Development (DFID) is leading the UK’s humanitarian response and getting life-saving aid to people across northern and central Iraq who have fled ISIL terrorists. The UK is delivering £23 million of aid, which includes:

  • Up to £4 million for humanitarian supplies - this includes aid that was air dropped to help those trapped in the Sinjar Mountains, as well as supporting UN agencies to move food and equipment
  • £17.5 million of funding to the UN, International Committee of the Red Cross and NGO partners to support over 200,000 people affected by the recent crisis - this funding will allow partners to provide basic life-saving assistance, including food, shelter, water, sanitation and medical care
  • a further £1.5 million to strengthen the overall humanitarian response - DFID is supporting logistics and coordination mechanisms to enable Kurdish and UN systems to respond effectively to humanitarian needs in the region, as well as supporting the International Humanitarian Partnership to set up a camp for 6,000 displaced people near Dahuk

We continue to monitor the situation.

Counter-terrorism at home

We will maintain and continually reinforce our formidable counter-terrorist effort here at home to prevent attacks and to hunt down those who are planning them.

People seeking to travel to engage in terrorist activity in Syria or Iraq should be in no doubt we will take the strongest possible action to protect our national security, including prosecuting those who break the law. We also have a wide range of powers at our disposal to disrupt travel and manage the risk posed by returnees.

We are redoubling these efforts to:

  • stop people going by taking away the passports of those contemplating travelling to take part in violence or extremism – the Home Office has seized 23 passports since we announced a stronger use of powers in April last year
  • ensure police have the powers they need to arrest those suspected in terrorist activities overseas – 69 people have been arrested in the first half of this year, compared to 25 in the whole of 2013
  • take extremist material off the internet – since February 2010, the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) has taken down more than 47,000 pieces of unlawful terrorist-related content (over 28,000 of these since December)
  • continue to support a network of organisations who work with people we know are drifting into extremism and violence – they have offered the support of hundreds of people, making a very significant contribution to our national security

A national campaign was launched by police in April to warn of the dangers of travelling to Syria (pdf) - the message is the same for those considering travelling to Iraq or any other conflict zone.

Translation Source: 
The website of the British government