Roughly 500 Spanish soldiers contribute to the Combined Joint Task Force with the aim of instructing and training Iraqi security forces in its fight against DAESH.
Spanish instructors belonging to the Besmayah Task Force perform these tasks. Said instructors, along with soldiers from other countries of the coalition (Portugal, United Kingdom, United States, France, the Netherlands…) provide the best capacities to the forces of this Asian country.
Other places where training activities also take place are Baghdad, Al Taqaddum and Taji, where the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) is trained by members of the SOTG (Special Operations Training Group).
The soldiers pertaining to the Task Force Toro (Helicopters Unit) also make up part of the Spanish contingent. Its main mission is to provide air transport to the Coalition troops, by means of Chinook and Cougar helicopters.
The international coalition against the terrorist group Daesh emerged at the NATO Summit held in Wales in September 2014. It is protected by two UN Security Council Resolutions and relies on the direct support of the European Union.
Participation of the Spanish Armed Forces was authorised during a plenary session of the Congress of Deputies on 22nd October. Initially, the deployment will be extended by six months, although at request of the coalition the Government may extend this period.
The coalition was formed in response to an aid application submitted by the Government of Iraq to the UN Secretary-General in order to try to prevent the advance of DAESH into its territory.
This jihadi group took advantage of the breakdown of Syria to rearm itself and occupy a large area located between the two countries. In June 2014, Daesh launched an offensive in the north of Iraq and took control of various cities, such as Tikrit, Mosul and Samarra.
It is estimated that Daesh has between 10.000 and 20.000 soldiers in both Iraq and Syria, 2.000 of which are foreigners.
The Combined Joint Task Force against the Jihadism, composed of 74 countries and 5 international organizations, is led by the United States and was formalised following the signing of the United Nations Security Council resolution 2170/2014, inspired by NATO Wales Summit. Its objective is to halt the advance of the terrorist group Daesh in Syria and Iraq. The allied forces are lending their support to Iraq against jihadist positions, being known that a rise of the DAESH in Kirkuk, Saladyn, Diyala and Al-Anbar is taking place.
The Coalition Action Plan comprises five areas of activity: military operation, prevention of the flow of foreign combatants, cutting of financial sources, humanitarian aid and undermining of the Daesh jihadist ideology.
Iraqi military training by Spanish forces is also part of the coalition strategy, helping the Government of this Asiatic country to recover the territory occupied by the terrorists.
· June 3. The Iraq Spanish Unit Helicopter (ISPUHEL) deployed in Iraq has conducted the transfer of authority among the members of the 9th and 10th contingents at Camp Taji. This third helicopter´s rotation is under the command of Commander Jorge Ginés Acero and is mainly composed of personnel from the Transport Helicopter Battalions BHELTRA V and BHELMA VI, based at Los Rodeos, Tenerife.
· May 22. 10th Spanish contingent “16th Brigade Canarias” takes command of the “Task Force” Bismayah. 10th Brigade “Guzmán el Bueno” is replaced by it.
· December 4. Handover/takeover (HOTO) of the unit belonging to the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET in Spanish) deployed at Camp Taji (Iraq) is performed. The unit is mainly composed of personnel from the 5th Transport Helicopter Battalion (BHELTRA V, based in Madrid) and from the 6th Transport Helicopter Battalion (BHELMA IV, based in Sevilla).
· November 23. The 9th Spanish contingent 10th Brigade “Guzmán el Bueno” takes command of the Task Force Bismayah (Iraq), replacing as well the 6th Brigade “Almogávares”.
· May. Personnel from the eighth contingent constituted on the base of the 6th Parachute Brigade “Almogávares”, starts its mission.
· Task Force Toro is deployed for the first time in Iraq.
· March 1. The new soldiers arrive to Bismayah after approval by the Congress of Deputies.
· December 28. The mission is extended till December 31, 2018. The forces will be slightly reinforced, including around thirty troops more, up to a total of 480.
· December 20. The Congress of Deputies authorises broadening of Spanish participation in the International Coalition against Daesh by up to 125 soldiers, rising from 300 to 450, including the presence of 25 civil guards.
· January 22. The first 30 troops from the Special Operations Command arrive to Baghdad.
· February 22. Once the deployment is completed, the Spanish flag is raised in the training centre of Bismayah.
· March 14. Under Spanish leadership, training of the 92nd Brigade, from the 16th Division of the Iraqi Army, starts.
· April 30. A ceremony where the name of the base “Gran Capitán” is made official is held at Bismayah.
· June. Daesh launches an offensive in northern Iraq.
· September 5. During the Wales Summit, an international coalition to fight against Daesh in Syria and Iraq is created.
· October 22. The Congress of Deputies authorises Spanish participation in the misión.
The ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) unit was deployed at the Area of Operation, in Al Asad Base, on October 2017, reaching Full Operational Capability (FOC) on 15th December. Since that moment, it began to operate in support to Spanish, Coalition and Iraqi forces.
Currently, its Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) exceeds 600 flight hours.
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