Marham jets join Iraq aid relief effort

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Servicemen and women from RAF Marham have been called in to support the aid effort to help people displaced by the current violence in Iraq.

Several Tornado jets left the base on Tuesday for Cyprus, though officials have stressed they will only be carrying out surveillance missions in support of the crews who are delivering emergency supplies to refugees.

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, whose constituency covers the base, said: “The Tornado has proven to be extremely versatile in not just combat operations but surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

“I understand from the MOD that the crew and planes will be assisting with the humanitarian mission to obtain a greater understanding of the situation on the ground. This is rather similar to the role the Tornadoes had earlier in the year when they gathered information on the flooding in the UK.”

Tens of thousands of people are believed to be trapped on mountains in the north of the country after fleeing fighters from the militant Islamic State group.

In total, around 700,000 people are thought to have been displaced by the fighting.

Although American crews have carried out air strikes in a bid to halt the Islamic State forces’ advance, as well as sending more than 100 military advisors to the country, British officials have so far insisted that the operation is solely humanitarian.

However, some have called for British forces to take part in the air strikes as well.