Australian Army troops will be redeployed to the Middle East to take part in the US-led aerial operations against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters, Defence Minister Mark Binskin said.
Key points:The Army will be tasked with providing support for ground troops in Iraq and SyriaThe Army said it would be a small role with no long-term commitmentThe Australian Army said its air wing would be tasked to provide support for troops in the Middle Eastern regionThe role would not involve the deployment of more ground troops, Mr Binskins told reporters on Wednesday.
“It’s a small unit,” he said.
“The number of people that will be part of it is going to be the number of soldiers that have been there for a year and a half.”
The Army was last deployed to Iraq in December 2016 as part of the US military mission against ISIL.
The US military had originally planned to deploy up to 4,000 soldiers to the region, but the number was reduced to 2,500 in January, before it was upgraded to 3,500.
The Australian Government had previously said it was not considering the deployment, with Mr Binkins saying it was more appropriate to focus on other issues.
“We’re not looking to have a military presence there,” he told reporters.
“In terms of our overall role in that region, we’re just going to do our own work.”
So it’s going to go back to where it was.
“Australia has been conducting air raids on ISIL targets in Syria since June.
The Defence Force’s decision to re-deploy soldiers to Iraq was welcomed by the Opposition.”
I think it’s a very good move and we look forward to working with the Government to ensure that the Australian Defence Force is able to provide the support it needs to help defend Australia,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said.
Topics:military-parties,government-and-politics,foreign-affairs,government,african-american-aboriginal-and-,indigenous-aborigen,australiaFirst posted November 11, 2020 09:50:59Contact Andrew BiltonMore stories from New South Wales