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The substantial gains made by Islamic State fighters in the last few months, which has seen ISIL forces advance on the northern city of Irbil and forced thousands of people from religious minorities to flee their homes, has prompted the US, UK and other Western governments to take more concerted action in Iraq.

The US has authorised two operations in Iraq: targeted airstrikes against advancing ISIS forces and humanitarian assistance. The UK has been providing humanitarian assistance and also recently deployed Tornado aircraft and Chinook helicopters to the region to provide additional support for the humanitarian relief operation, should it become necessary.

Several commentators have criticised the UK's response as insufficient, while many MPs have called for Parliament to be recalled so that the vrisis in Iraq can be debated.


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