05:51 GMT06 May 2021
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    By the end of 2017, Iraqi territories were cleared of the Daesh* terrorist organization, responsible for cruel hostilities that swept the Middle East in the past decade, but the US-led military coalition continues operating in the country under the pretext of assisting local forces to eliminate remaining terrorist cells.

    The number 617 Squadron of the UK’s Royal Air Force, widely renowned as the “Dambusters,” will join an international military coalition in Iraq and Syria to conduct anti-terrorist operations, Sky News reported on Monday.

    The squadron will deploy US-built F-35B Lightning stealth jets to participate in Operation Shader from the carrier strike group as "violent extremism and the toxic ideology underpinning it is still rooted" in the region, according to Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Wigston.

    "We're going to conduct operations in support of the government of Iraq, fighting the remnants of Daesh in Iraq and Syria - and continuing to take the fight to them in their sanctuary where otherwise they would be threatening the streets of the United Kingdom and our allies,” he said.

    According to Wigston, the operations are “something that air power has been doing very effectively now since 2014 and the Royal Air Force has played a considerable part in that success.” He explained that the extremist organization “is no longer the ground-holding force,” that held wide areas under its control throughout 2015 and 2016.

    "For the last two years we have been identifying pockets where they have dug in to strongholds in the mountains in remote areas, and have been helping the government of Iraq to clear out those remnants."

    The minister for the armed forces, James Heappey, noted that the multi-role fifth-generation fighter aircraft, provided with advanced technologies that enable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, “will pack a potent punch against Daesh and help prevent them from regaining a foothold in Iraq.”

    Maj. Will Andreotta, F-35 Lightning II Heritage Flight Team pilot from Luke Air Force Base, Az., prepares to exit the cockpit at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Sept. 20, 2016. The aircraft is here to perform a fly-over during the U.S. Air Force Tattoo at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C., Sept. 22, 2016.
    Airman Gabrielle Spalding
    Maj. Will Andreotta, F-35 Lightning II "Heritage Flight Team" pilot from Luke Air Force Base, Az., prepares to exit the cockpit at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Sept. 20, 2016. The aircraft is here to perform a fly-over during the U.S. Air Force Tattoo at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C., Sept. 22, 2016.

    Last month Britain announced that it had performed a number of air strikes in March in northern Iraq against jihadists who were reportedly dislocated in the Makhmur mountains, southwest of Erbil, the Iraqi Kurdistan administrative center.

    Despite Iraq announcing a victory over Daesh at the end of 2017, local military forces, jointly with US-led forces, continue military operations.

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia and many other states

    Related:

    Iraqi Security Forces Discover Daesh Stash of $1.5 Mln, Precious Metals in Mosul
    Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Says Expects Further Engagement With US Against Daesh
    Australian Police Want Nazi, Daesh Flags Banned in Australia to Help Fight Terrorism
    Tags:
    UK Royal Air Force, stealth fighter, DAESH, Syria, Iraq
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