SAF to send medical support team to Iraq, Army Deployment Force to protect the team

PM Lee addresses the joint news conference as President Obama looks on at the White House in Washington on Aug 2, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore will step up its contribution to the fight against terror in Iraq by sending a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) medical support team to the country.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in Washington, DC, on an official visit, made the announcement in a joint statement with United States President Barack Obama on Tuesday (Aug 2, US time).

The medical support team will take care of both soldiers and civilians injured in the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in a Facebook post, adding that soldiers from the new Army Deployment Force (ADF) will join the medical support team for force protection.

The ADF is a rapid response anti-terrorist unit the size of a battalion that comprises highly trained soldiers with niche capabilities.

"As long as terrorist groups gain a foothold in any country, they can radicalise others from all around the world, including Singapore. This is why Singapore joined the fight against terror in Afghanistan, and now against ISIS in Iraq and Syria," Dr Ng wrote.

The SAF's Imagery Analysis Team has been deployed to the Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters in Kuwait since last September.

Singapore had also sent 492 SAF servicemen to Afghanistan during a six-year deployment to the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force that included medical support. The SAF's longest overseas deployment ended in June 2013.

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