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United Kingdom

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The United Kingdom is involved in the non-international armed conflicts against the Islamic State group by undertaking airstrikes in Iraq and Syria as part of the international coalition led by the United States. It is also involved in the international armed conflict in Syria.

The United Kingdom is currently a party to a series of armed conflicts. For further information on who is considered a party to an armed conflict, see ‘contemporary challenges – multinational forces: who is a party to the conflict?' in our classification section.

  • The United Kingdom is a party to the non-international armed conflict in Iraq against the Islamic State group. Following parliamentary approval in September 2014, the United Kingdom joined the international coalition led by the United States and launched its first airstrike against the Islamic State group in Iraq on 30 September 2014. The United Kingdom also provides training to Kurdish Peshmerga forces and military advice to the Iraqi security forces. It has also been supplying the Kurdish Peshmerga forces with military equipment, weapons, and ammunition. C.Mills, ISIS/Daesh: The Military Response in Iraq and Syria, Commons Briefing Papers SN06995, 9 November 2016, p 38 following. See also the information provided for by the British government on its action to counter the Islamic State group. In its letter to the President of the Security Council, the United Kingdom highlighted that its action was taken upon request of the Iraqi government and based on the right of collective self-defence of Iraq, see Identical Letters Dated 25 November 2014 from the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations Addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council, UN doc S/2014/851, 26 November 2015. For regularly updated figures on the number of British air and drone strikes in Iraq and Syria, see 'Iraq / Syria Operations (Operation Shader)', Drone Wars UK Blog, last updated August 2017.



Last updated: Monday 23rd November 2020