British Army trainers and Iraqi security forces personnel in Besmaya range Iraq
Iraq

British Army Training Mission Suspended In Iraq

Around 400 British Army personnel are deployed in Iraq.

British Army trainers and Iraqi security forces personnel in Besmaya range Iraq

British troops in Iraq have had their training mission "paused" over safety concerns, amid heightened tensions in the region.

The focus is to now protect the Iraqi bases where the troops are stationed, the Combined Joint Task Force coalition said in a statement.

Around 400 British Army soldiers are in the country training Iraqi Security Forces to fight the so-called Islamic State (IS).

It comes after the UK said it was reviewing its "force protection" in the region after a US air strike, that killed a top Iranian general, prompted concerns of war. 

The US-led coalition, that is made up of more than 30 nations, said it made the decision after "repeated rocket attacks over the last two months" by Iranian-backed militia. 

"Our first priority is protecting all coalition personnel committed to the defeat of Daesh (IS)," the coalition said in a statement.

"We are now fully committed to protecting the Iraqi bases that host coalition troops.

"This has limited our capacity to conduct training with partners and to support their operations against Daesh and we have therefore paused these activities, subject to continuous review."

General Qassem Soleimani 270718 CREDIT PA .jpg
General Qassem Soleimani was killed by a US air strike on Friday (Picture: PA).

British soldiers are deployed to three different camps in Iraq - Camp Taji near Baghdad, Union III in Baghdad, and Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.

UK personnel have trained and mentored 25,000 Iraqi military personnel, as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. 

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed the training mission has been suspended.

Amid the heightened tensions in the region, Royal Navy warships are to resume escorting British ships through the Strait of Hormuz.

It follows the killing of General Qassem Soleimani in a US drone attack at Baghdad airport.

Iran warned America it will retaliate, while President Donald Trump said the US will hit 52 Iranian targets "very fast and very hard" if Tehran does respond. 

Cover Image: British troops with members of the Iraqi Security Forces in 2017 (Picture: US Department of Defense).