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British defence secretary ‘proud’ of Akrotiri troops in fight against IS

British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was in Cyprus on Sunday to visit troops at the RAF Akrotiri base where he praised them for their working in fighting the Islamic State (IS).

Fallon told the 400 personnel in Cyprus how he was “proud” of their role in helping the Iraqi government defend itself against the threat of IS.

He said: “While this fight will take time, the coalition’s air strikes are having a direct effect in supporting Iraqi ground operations against IS.

“In the north, areas around Mount Sinjar have been retaken, bringing relief to the local Yazidi population and applying pressure to IS forces in Mosul. In the south, Iraqi forces operations are beginning to push back ISIL.

“Britain’s contribution is playing to our strengths. By leading the counter-IED (improvised explosive device) training this month our troops will be using their expertise to give Iraqi forces a vital capability in taking the fight to IS.”

During his second visit to Cyprus in the past 12 months, Fallon met RAF personnel from 903 Expeditionary Air Wing who are providing the UK’s contribution to coalition air operations against IS.

He also met troops from the Second Battalion, Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, and received a briefing on the key role they are playing in the training programme to build the capacity of the Iraqi security forces.

Fallon was in Cyprus last August and after his visit to Akrotiri, he discussed regional issues with President Nicos Anastasiades. (PA)

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