Foreign Secretary James Cleverly on a visit to 83 Expeditionary Air Wing at the RAF's Middle East headquarters (Picture: Royal Air Force).
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly visited the RAF's Middle East headquarters (Picture: Royal Air Force).
RAF

Foreign Secretary briefed on Operation Shader during visit to RAF's Middle East headquarters

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly on a visit to 83 Expeditionary Air Wing at the RAF's Middle East headquarters (Picture: Royal Air Force).
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly visited the RAF's Middle East headquarters (Picture: Royal Air Force).

The Foreign Secretary has been briefed on work in Operation Shader during a visit to the RAF's Middle East headquarters.

James Cleverly visited 83 Expeditionary Air Group, which controls the air wings that carry out the air operations of Operations Kipion and Shader, as well as delivering UK national and defence objectives across the Middle East, the RAF said.

Mr Cleverly was briefed by the Air Component Commander Middle East, Air Commodore Nikki Thomas OBE, on current operations being directed by the HQ and carried out by the Expeditionary Air Wing.

The Foreign Secretary also spoke to personnel deployed as part of 83 Expeditionary Air Group and 901 Expeditionary Air Group, as well as US personnel there as part of the coalition.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly speaks to personnel at the RAF's Middle East headquarters (Picture: Royal Air Force).
The Foreign Secretary spoke to personnel at the RAF's Middle East headquarters (Picture: RAF).

Mr Cleverly said: "Today I had the privilege of meeting personnel deployed to the operational Headquarters of 83 Expeditionary Air Wing in Qatar.

"The Royal Air Force is unwavering in its commitment to our partners and allies to defeat Da'esh, protect the UK, and help deliver security across the region."

Air Commodore Thomas said: "It has been a privilege to present the Expeditionary Air Group to the Foreign Secretary.

"While Operation Shader is now in its eighth year, the dedication and hard work of all those deployed in the Middle East is unwavering."

He went on: "I was pleased to explain the wider role of the Expeditionary Air Group, from support to Operation Pitting just over a year ago, to the delivery of the ongoing UK commitment to enhance the security of the region through armed operational sorties into Iraq and Eastern Syria, training, and defence engagement."

Operation Shader is the operational code name used for the UK's contribution to the US-led mission against so-called Islamic State (IS).

The final towns and cities once held by the militant group were liberated in 2019, but Operation Shader will continue, with IS not being completely defeated as an organisation.

Operation Kipion refers to the Royal Navy's presence in the Gulf and Indian Ocean, ensuring freedom of shipping and stability in the region.