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Fallon: UK to send more troops to help fight IS

The UK will send more military personnel to Iraq to help train forces to fight Islamic State, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has confirmed.

More British military personnel will return to Iraq to help train security forces. Credit: Reuters

Mr Fallon said advisers will be placed in training centres across the country, as he announced an expansion of UK involvement after a small team was sent to the northern city of Erbil last month.

Forces will offer further training to Iraqi soldiers and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, including skills such as sharp-shooting and first aid.

But the Ministry of Defence insisted the move would not lead to the deployment of combat troops.

“It is right that we do more to help Iraqi forces take the fight to ISIL on the ground which is why the UK is offering the further training, support and assistance," Mr Fallon said.

British troops 'set to return to Iraq'

British soldiers could return to Baghdad to support Iraqi security forces in their fight against Islamic State.

A number of officers are expected to be sent to join the US-led training mission to the Iraqi capital.

Officers are set to travel to Baghdad to train Iraqi forces for their fight against IS. Credit: PA Wire

"We are exploring what more can be done on training as part of a future package of support aimed at bolstering the ability [of the Iraqi military] to tackle [Islamic State]," a senior defence source told The Times.

The Ministry of Defence is due to make an announcement later.

David Cameron has refused to send ground troops to fight the Islamist group, which controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria, but a "small specialist" team was sent to advise Kurdish Peshmerga in the northern city of Erbil last month.


Returning British jihadists 'could dissuade others from joining IS'

British jihadists returning to the UK from Syria after becoming disillusioned with the extremists could be used to dissuade others from going to join the conflict, William Hague said.

The Leader of the Commons said authorities would be prepared to assist former-fighters, if satisfied as to their "good intentions".

His comments come amid reports that some Britons who left groups like Islamic State (IS) fear returning home in case they face arrest.

Speaking on BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show Mr Hague said:

Our top priority has to be the protection of the security of the people of this country, and that is why we will take action where we think people could be dangerous. But the Home Office and the police and the health service are also working together on what we can do to assist those people who come back with good intentions, but of course we have to be sure that they do have good intentions. We haven't had a lot of those people coming back yet and saying they want to be of assistance, but if they do well then of course the Government, the police, the National Health Service, will work with those people and help them to recover and to assist others.

– William Hague

US airstrikes in Kobani and Iraq continue

US fighter and bomber planes launched five attacks against Islamic State (IS) militants near Kobani in Syria and five in Iraq since Friday, Central Command said.

The Kobani strikes "suppressed or destroyed" nine Islamic State fighting positions and a building, Centcom said. In Iraq, five air strikes destroyed an Islamic State vehicle southwest of Mosul Dam and hit four vehicles and four buildings used by militants near Al Qaim, it said in a statement.

85 killed by Islamic State fighters in Iraq

Islamic State militants have killed 85 more members of the Albu Nimr tribe in Iraq, in a killing campaign launched last week in retaliation for resistance against the group's territorial advances, a tribal leader and security official told Reuters.

Sheikh Naeem al-Ga'oud, one of the tribe's leaders, said Islamic State killed 50 displaced members of Albu Nimr on Friday. In a separate incident, a security official said 35 bodies were found in a mass grave.


Peshmerga depart from Turkey to besieged Kobani

urdish Peshmerga fighters wave Kurdish flags atop an army vehicle as they move towards the Syrian town of Kobani from the border town of Suruc. Credit: Reuters

A convoy of Kurdish Peshmerga troops departed from Turkey in a convoy overnight to help bolster Syrian Kurds holding out against self-styled Islamic State militants in the besieged town of Kobani.

Islamic State combatants have been trying to capture Kobani, known as Ayn al-Arab in Arabic, for over a month, pressing their assault despite U.S.-led air strikes on their positions and the deaths of hundreds of their fighters.

More US strikes against Islamic State near Kobani

US forces conducted five air strikes against Islamic State targets near the embattled Syrian city of Kobani, the U.S. Central Command said on Sunday.

Smoke rises over Syrian town of Kobani. Credit: Reuters

Other members of coalition completed 12 separate strikes in Iraq - nine air around the strategic Mosul Dam and three air strikes southeast of Fallujah.

"In Syria five air strikes near Kobani destroyed seven ISIL vehicles and an ISIL building," Central Command said in a statement, using another acronym for Islamic State," Central Command said.

IS fails to seize border post in Syrian Kobani

Islamic State militants tried to seize a border post in the Syrian town of Kobani on the Turkish frontier overnight but were repulsed by Kurdish fighters, officials said.

Kurdish refugees from Kobani watch as thick smoke covers the Syrian town. Credit: Reuters

Islamic State fighters have been trying to capture Kobani, known as Ayn al-Arab in Arabic, for over a month, pressing their assault despite U.S.-led air strikes on their positions and the deaths of hundreds of their fighters.

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