IS 'facing endgame' in Mosul and heading for defeat in Raqqa, says Fallon

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The so-called Islamic State (IS) terror group is facing its "endgame" in its former Iraqi stronghold in Mosul, while there is "irreversible momentum" towards its defeat at its Syrian base in Raqqa, the Defence Secretary has said.

Sir Michael Fallon revealed that RAF warplanes have hit more than 700 targets to support the expected imminent liberation of Mosul, where IS, also known as Daesh, declared its supposed "caliphate" three years ago.

British aircraft have also struck 69 targets in and around Raqqa in support of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advancing on the city from the north, east and west.

IS has now lost 70% of the territory it once controlled in Iraq and 51% of the area it held in Syria, meaning more than four million Iraqis and Syrians have been freed from the terror group's tyranny, the Ministry of Defence said.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of Nato defence ministers on Thursday, Sir Michael said: "Three years on from when Daesh declared its so-called caliphate in Mosul, this evil death cult faces its endgame in the city.

"In Syria, there is now irreversible momentum and progress towards Daesh's defeat in Raqqa, with the SDF already controlling nearly 15% of the city."

At the meeting, Sir Michael will confirm that Britain stands ready to offer offensive cyber capabilities to Nato operations as and when required.

He will also announce that the UK is to respond to a Nato request for assistance by sending 85 extra advisers to support its mission in Afghanistan.

"Keeping Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for transnational terrorists helps to keep our streets safe too," Sir Michael said.

"That's why we're stepping up our support to the government of Afghanistan and its defence forces, helping them to expand security and develop their armed forces.

"Our extra personnel will remain in a non-combat role, supporting the 500 UK troops already in country to mentor the future generation of Afghan officers, develop the Afghan Air Force and advise the security ministries."