IS has been 'crushed' in Iraq and Syria: May
LONDON: The Islamic State terror group has been "crushed" in Iraq and Syria with the efforts of Britain's armed forces, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday during a surprise Christmas visit to troops in Cyprus.
May praised the Royal Air Force (RAF) men and women at Britain's Akrotiri base in the country for their key role on Operation Shader, the codename for the fight against Islamic State (ISIS), and diminishing the hold of terrorists in the Middle East.
"Just three years ago, Daesh [ISIS] declared a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, a safe haven in which to carry out the most barbaric acts and in which to plot murder on our streets at home," she said. "But on Friday, thanks in very large part to your efforts, the so-called caliphate has been crushed and no longer holds significant territory in Iraq and Syria. You should be incredibly proud of that achievement," May said. The RAF base in Cyprus is at the heart of the UK's operations in Iraq and Syria. It is home to 2,000 military personnel and has been the launch point for more than 1,300 sorties to Iraq and more than 250 to Syria since the US-led action against ISIS began. May said that British military intervention was still needed in the region to ensure the terror group did not regroup.