Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 28th January 2015.

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Photo of The Marquess of Lothian The Marquess of Lothian Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made on efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL, in the light of recent reports that one third of Syrian territory is now under ISIL's control.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

In the last six months, the global coalition has conducted over two thousand air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq, with Royal Air Force pilots flying over 6700 hours of surveillance, reconnaissance, refueling and strike missions. Our efforts, and those of the coalition as a whole, have helped check ISIL’s advance and assisted the Iraqis in liberating a number of important towns. Coalition airstrikes are also having an effect in Syria, including at Kobane. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), co-hosted, with US Secretary of State John Kerry, a conference on 22 January to push forward other streams of work including disrupting ISIL’s funding streams, tackling foreign fighters, and countering ISIL’s twisted ideology. In Syria, Assad must continue to bear responsibility for the savage civil war and the harrowing impact it is having on his own people. He is a catalyst of terrorism, not its cure. So it is vital that we keep supporting moderate voices and keep pushing for a political settlement that ends the civil war. We have been clear that defeating ISIL will take considerable time, but we have a comprehensive, long-term and well-coordinated strategy in place.

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