Iraqi and Kurdish fighters being trained by UK forces will “absolutely” beat Islamic State, a high ranking British Army officer has said.

As part of the UK’s role in the 68-member Global Coalition committed to defeating the terror group, more than 500 British soldiers are currently deployed in locations across Iraq.

Lieutenant Colonel Rob Singleton Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion of The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment is based in Erbil in the Kurdish region at UK camp, JOB Zorbash.

Members of the Zervani during a training exercise (Joe Giddens/PA)
(Joe Giddens/PA)

Over the past few months, the 40-year-old dad-of-two said 2 LANCS have been training Iraqi and Kurdish security forces in medical techniques, infantry skills and counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) measures.

“In Mosul at the moment they are making real progress, and whilst we are not fighting we have got an indirect approach,” he told the Press Association.

“It is our job to train the Iraqis and the Kurds so that they are able to do their job in Mosul – and it appears to me that they are doing it really well, they are very brave, and they have been fighting for a while now.

“I think that they are absolutely going to beat Daesh (another term for Islamic State) and it is to their credit.”

Members of the Zervani during a training exercise (Joe Giddens/PA)
(Joe Giddens/PA)

Lt Col Singleton said the Kurds and Iraqis are confident the fight against IS is one they can win, and that it is the job of his battalion to make sure they have the right skill set to do it.

“I think my training teams are genuinely first class and so they are held in really high regard by both the coalition and Kurdish and Iraqi security forces,” he said.

“When they deliver those periods of instruction, it is the best it gets and the Iraqis and Kurds know that and they know that it will keep them safe in Mosul and beyond.”

An unfinished and abandoned development on the outskirts of Erbil called Tiger Town, is now being used by the Peshmerga, British and coalition forces for training purposes.

Tiger Town is the site of the training exercise
(Joe Giddens/PA)

The half-built structures provide a “first-class training environment” Lt Col Singleton said, with the facilities allowing training to take place in a realistic environment as they practice urban warfare.

Lieutenant Tommy Flight of the Corps of Royal Engineers has been leading a team which carries out training in counter IED techniques.

The 31-year-old from Kent said working with the Kurds has been “fantastic” and his biggest takeaway from the tour is the “uplift in capability” his team have seen.

“Taking them from almost rudimentary at times, to a point where you know you are happy for them to go out onto the front line and that they will be safe because of what you have taught them. It is quite rewarding to know that maybe somewhere along the lines you have saved their lives or what you have taught them has saved someone else’s life.”

A soldier listens to a briefing
(Joe Giddens/PA)

Praising the “leading role” Britain is playing in the coalition’s efforts to train Iraqi and Peshmerga forces, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the skills being provided are “vital”.

“Since 2014 we’ve helped train over 44,000 of these forces in countering Daesh booby traps, infantry skills, and bridge building,” he said. “These skills are proving vital in the current operation to liberate western Mosul and push Daesh out of their last major stronghold in Iraq.”