New figures show that fighting the Islamic State has cost the Ministry of Defence nearly £800 million over three years.
The statement from the Minister of State for Defence Earl Howe, shows counter IS operations cost £469 million in the last financial year, £262 million in the 2014/15 and a year earlier just £47 million.
Lord Howe said these are net additional costs that the MoD would not otherwise have incurred but for the operations.
A spokesman for the MoD said the total includes: “Operational allowances, accommodation, feeding and support for the thousands of personnel who have served on Operation Shader, as well as costs associated with air operations including fuel and precision guided munitions.”
Although of course a lot of money over three years it has still come in far less than the Americans who have spent £8.5billion.
The figures have emerged as the Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said Britain would continue striking terrorist targets until Islamic State had been driven out of Iraq and Syria. Sir Michael said:
“Well the end is clearly very near now in Raqqa itself, but the RAF will continue to strike terrorist targets right along the Euphrates Valley until we are sure we have got rid of Daesh from both Iraq and Syria, because only that way can we be sure of reducing the threat to us here in Britain and western Europe.”
Since October 2014, Britain has conducted over 1600 air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. U.K forces have trained 57,000 members of the Iraqi and Peshmerga security forces, as well as providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to the coalition.
There has been growing concern about the risk of civilian casualties as Islamic State is driven from its last remaining strongholds in the region.
Answering a separate parliamentary question, the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster MP said: “As operations in Iraq and Syria have intensified we are seeing increasing evidence of Daesh’s callous disregard for human life, their unwillingness to allow civilians to leave their homes and in some cases their deliberate attempts to use civilians to shield fighters from coalition strikes.”
“Rigorous coalition targeting processes take into account the conditions on the ground, including the potential presence of a civilian population.”
“Reports of civilian casualties are and will continue to be taken very seriously. The coalition investigates all credible claims and the results of any investigation are published.”