Oman and Britain to open joint military training base

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson riding in a British Challenger II tank in Oman. (Ministry of Defence Twitter)
Updated 05 November 2018
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Oman and Britain to open joint military training base

  • UK defence secretary Gavin Williamson made the announcement after large-scale exercises in the sultanate
  • Earlier this year, Britain opened a permanent military base in Bahrain

LONDON: Oman and Britain will open a joint military training base next year to help counter the activities of hostile states and extremist groups.

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the base would open in March.

He made the announcement as he visited the country to observe the end of a large-scale joint military exercise involving tens of thousands of personnel practicing desert combat.

“Our relationship with Oman is built on centuries of cooperation and we are cementing that long into the future with the opening of our new joint base,” Williamson said.

“This has never been more important as malign activity by hostile states and violent extremist organisations seek to undermine stability and subvert the rules based order on which we all rely.”

Earlier this year, Britain opened a permanent military base in Bahrain.

The Al Saif Al Sareea 3 military exercises included 70,000 defence personnel from Oman and 5,500 soldiers, sailors, pilots and engineers from the British Armed Forces.

Military commanders from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE, Jordan and Egypt on Friday to attended the conclusion of Al Saif Al Sareea 3.

*With Reuters


Anti-Daesh coalition raids kill 43 in east Syria: monitor

Updated 7 min 29 sec ago
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Anti-Daesh coalition raids kill 43 in east Syria: monitor

BEIRUT: Air strikes by the US-led coalition Saturday killed 43 people, mostly civilians, in a Daesh holdout in eastern Syria, a Britain-based monitor said.
Seventeen children were among 36 Daesh family members killed in Abu Husn village of Deir Ezzor province near the Iraqi border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Another seven victims had not yet been identified as either civilians or Daesh fighters, it said.
The US-led coalition has been backing a Kurdish-Arab alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting to expel the extremists from the pocket around Abu Husn.
"It's the highest death toll in coalition air strikes since the SDF launched its attack against the IS pocket" in September, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
The coalition has repeatedly said it does its utmost to prevent civilian casualties.
"The avoidance of civilian casualties is our highest priority when conducting strikes against legitimate military targets with precision munitions," spokesman Sean Ryan told AFP this week.
Daesh overran large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a "caliphate" in land it controlled.
But the militant group has since lost most of it to various offensives in both countries.
In Syria, the group has seen its presence reduced to parts of the vast Badia desert and the pocket in Deir Ezzor.
The coalition has since 2014 acknowledged direct responsibility for over 1,100 civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq, but rights groups put the number killed much higher.