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‘Iraq campaign no longer a humanitarian affair’

‘Iraq campaign no longer a humanitarian affair’
As Kurdish forces in Iraq, backed by United States airstrikes, fought for strategic gains against Sunni militants, Britain’s defense minister was quoted on Monday as telling air force personnel that the campaign against the insurgents would last ‘weeks and months’ and was no longer simply a humanitarian affair.

But, in a clear attempt to allay worries that British troops might be drawn back into full-scale combat in Iraq, Prime Minister David Cameron used an appearance on television Monday morning to stress that there would be limits to Britain’s involvement.

‘I want to be absolutely clear to you and to families watching at home,’ he said. ‘Britain is not going to get involved in another war in Iraq.

We are not going to be putting boots on the ground. We are not going to be sending in the British Army.’

The British leader’s remarks followed an article he wrote in The Sunday Telegraph warning that the struggle against militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, represented ‘a generational struggle’ that ‘I believe we will be fighting for the rest of my political lifetime.’

Defense officials disclosed on Monday that a small number of British soldiers had in fact been on the ground in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq last week when Western nations, led by the United States, were contemplating a huge rescue effort for members of the beleaguered Yazidi religious minority.

But the troops were withdrawn within a day of an American assessment that the need for a rescue mission was no longer urgent.

Agencies

Agencies

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