Daesh: Syria and Iraq

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th July 2018.

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Photo of Rehman Chishti Rehman Chishti Vice-Chair, Conservative Party 12:00 am, 9th July 2018

What recent assessment he has made of the strength of the UK’s continued commitment to tackle Daesh in Syria and Iraq.

Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Defence

The UK is as committed as ever to working through the global coalition to eliminate the danger posed by Daesh. We continue to undertake air strikes against Daesh targets, and we have been building the capacity of the Iraqi security forces, including the peshmerga, to deal with a potential insurgency. For as long as they want and need our support, we will continue to train Iraq’s security forces, enhancing their ability to respond to the threat and carrying out security sector reform in Iraq.

Photo of Rehman Chishti Rehman Chishti Vice-Chair, Conservative Party

Apart from military action, what steps are being taken to help to tackle the sectarian tension in Syria and Iraq, and in the wider region, which in part led to the rise of Daesh?

Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Defence

My hon. Friend highlights an important element. This is not just about support through the military; it is also about international development support and about building civil law enforcement, which involves the police and, equally importantly, the courts, in order to give people confidence that the courts are fair and just.

Photo of Nick Smith Nick Smith Opposition Whip (Commons)

Daesh still has a strong online presence. What is being done to combat that?

Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Defence

As has been mentioned in the House, the British Government and the Ministry of Defence have been using offensive cyber in Iraq for the first time to counter the messages that Daesh puts out. We will continue to do that.

Photo of Jamie Stone Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Armed Forces)

As we train up personnel in Iraq, can I assume that the Secretary of State will ensure that the knowledge gained and the contacts made will be banked for the future for our own defence purposes, not least intelligence?

Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Defence

Yes, the hon. Gentleman can have that assurance.