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SAF medical support team to be sent to Iraq in 2017

Dr Lim Wee Kiak from Sembawang GRC asked the Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen whether he can provide an update on Singapore's deployment to support the multinational coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in light of recent terrorist incidents across the world as well as the recent arrest of Singaporeans under the Internal Security Act.

In response to the question, Dr Ng said in the Parliament on 15 August that Singapore Armed Force (SAF) medical support team will be sent for three months deployment for its contribution to the multinational coalition combating terror group ISIS in Iraq, in 2017.

The needs assessment will be held to determine the exact size, composition and capabilities of the medical squad team.

Dr Eng said that the medical support team will take care of soldiers and civilians who are injured during the battle against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The new Army Deployment Force (ADF) will protect the team during the assignment.

The ADF was set up in July 2016 by the SAF. It is a new rapid response unit, the size of a battalion, comprised of highly-trained soldiers with niche capabilities.

"Our deployment in Iraq will augment existing coalition medical resources. Through this deployment, our personnel will also gain good operational experience," said Dr Ng.

Dr Ng said that Singapore has been active in battling ISIS by contributed to the counter-terrorism coalition since December 2014.

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

There were 492 SAF servicemen sent to Afghanistan during the six-year deployment to the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force which includes medical support. The deployment ended in July 2013.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said in a joint press conference with United States President Barack Obama during the official visit on early August that the country would step-up in the fight against terror.