04:24 GMT07 August 2020
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    The prime minister praised the Armed Forces in her Christmas speech for keeping the UK safe from Russia, defeating Daesh and “sending a message” to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

    UK Prime Minister Theresa May hailed the British Armed Forces in her Christmas address, praising their work on a variety of tasks, including, among other things, cleaning up the mess after the Salisbury incident and keeping UK "waters and skies" free from "Russian intrusion".

    "Time and again you have stood up to aggression and those who flout the rules-based international order. You should be incredibly proud of all that you do — just as the whole country is proud of you", Theresa May said in the address.

    The prime minister praised the military for "playing a vital role in cleaning up after a sickening nerve agent attack on the streets of Salisbury", and for "protecting our waters and our skies from Russian intrusion and strengthening our allies in Eastern Europe", the Independent reports.

    It remains unclear whether the Russian Armed Forces are aware they were supposed to intrude into British seas and skies, however.

    She also praised the armed forces for "striking at terrorism as part of the global coalition against Daesh" in Syria.

    Sticking to the usual narrative, Prime Minister May said the British Armed Forces sent a "message" to Syrian President Bashar Assad that Downing Street won't stand by "while chemical weapons are used". May did not elaborate on what exact actions by the British contingent in Syria she perceives as "sending the message" to Assad.

    "Along with our US and French allies", UK forces are "sending a message to the Assad regime that we will not stand by while chemical weapons are used, as they were in April on families, including young children", she said.

    Coalition members have repeatedly accused President Assad of using poisonous chemicals on his own citizens, despite evidence provided by the Russian military that the chlorine shelling had been carried out by terrorist forces.

    Earlier in October, the Russian Ministry of Defence acquired intelligence saying that the group known as "White Helmets" was hiring people to participate in staged chemical attacks.

    On Sunday, the US Department of Defence enacted an executive order for the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, after US President Trump declared victory over the "largely defeated" Daesh, and later saying that Turkey "should be able to easily take care of whatever remains" of the world's once most loathed terror group.

    On Saturday, Prime Minister May said Daesh has been "crushed" in Iraq and Syria by the efforts of British forces.

    "Just three years ago, Daesh [ISIS] declared a caliphate in Iraq and Syria", she said during her visit to troops stationed in Cyprus. "But today, thanks in very large part to your efforts, the so-called caliphate has been crushed and no longer holds significant territory in Iraq and Syria".

    "You should be incredibly proud of that achievement", she said, according to the Times of India.

    Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia.


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