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Hammond in Iraq to meet country's new prime minister

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is in Iraq to meet the country's new prime minister Haider al-Abadi.

Hammond said he was holding discussions on combating extremism and improving national unity.

Hammond: Defending Kobani 'a very difficult situation'

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has admitted that there wasn't anything the coalition could do to make a "fundamental difference on the ground" in Kobani.

Speaking last night, he told the BBC:

The US has implemented some additional air strikes to try and help the people who are defending Kobani but it is a very difficult situation on the ground and we have never envisaged that the coalition's intervention with air power in this battle was going to turn the tide in the short term.

We have got to degrade Isil's military capability over time, that isn't going to happen overnight. So I don't want to suggest that there is anything readily that the coalition can do that will make a fundamental difference on the ground in this battle, in the tactical situation that's faced around Kobani. Self evidently it could fall.

The Americans are committed to doing what they can to support the defence the town with additional air strikes. But this is a long struggle here against a poisonous ideology and an organisation which has built up some very significant military capabilities.

Although we the coalition are confident that we will win that strategic battle we cannot say with confidence that we will be able to win any specific tactical engagement

– Defence Secretary Philip Hammond


Hammond: We cannot expect to defeat IS overnight

Islamic State militants will not be defeated "overnight", the Foreign Secretary has warned.

Philip Hammond also told ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore that the Government could yet bring another parliamentary vote on deploying British air power over Syria.

Hammond: 'Deluded' to think ignoring IS will stop them

It is "deluded" to think ignoring the "barbarism" of Islamic State (IS) will somehow diffuse the threat of the anti-Shia jihadists, the Foreign Secretary told Good Morning Britain.

Philip Hammond said IS were already prepared to carry out atrocities all over the world, so it was unlikely airstrikes would exacerbate the situation.

Hammond: Govt 'not ruled out' military action in Syria

The Government has not ruled out military action in Syria to tackle Islamic State militants, the foreign secretary said.

Philip Hammond Credit: Maja Hitij/DPA

When asked whether British air strikes in Iraq - which look set to be approved tomorrow - could be extended to Syria, Philip Hammond said: "We haven't ruled out anything for the future. We will have to see how the struggle against Isil goes.

"But the important thing... is that if we were to decide at some point into the future that it would be right to conduct airstrikes in Syria then we would come back to the House of Commons, there would be another debate - all the issues around that would be fully discussed and a decision made at that time."

Mr Hammond also ruled out deploying British ground troops, he said: "There will be a ground operation - it's just that we will not be providing ground combat troops

"We are very clear about that. Not only because we don't think, frankly, public opinion would support such involvement. But also we don't think such an involvement would be helpful."

Hammond expects a 'long struggle' against IS in Iraq

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said he expects the response to Islamic State to be a "long struggle against a poisonous ideology".

He said the military dimension of the conflict was just one part of the counter-attack, which he said is also financial and ideological.

ITV News' International Affairs Editor Rageh Omaar began by asking him whether Parliament would be consulted in advance of any military action:


Hammond not ruling out UK trainers on ground in Iraq

The Government would consider sending British forces to Iraq in a training capacity but not for combat roles, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has told ITV News.

He said he believed Iraqi forces lacked "technical support, surveillance, intelligence, air cover and in some cases weapons and ammunition" rather than manpower.

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