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American Forces Press Service

Press Secretary: Carter Wants to Push Harder in Counter-ISIL Effort

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, June 06, 2016 – Though significant progress that is being achieved, Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants to push harder in the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters today.

"The secretary has not been satisfied with the pace, which is why he's always talking about accelerating [it]," Cook said. "He is satisfied we are making progress in Iraq and Syria, but the secretary's view is the sooner this threat is defeated, the better."

Carter will continue to push coalition partners, U.S. forces and commanders to see what else can be done to accelerate ISIL's defeat further, he added.

ISIL Fight Needs Close Coordination

"We've seen [significant] developments on the ground in Iraq and Syria, but this is a fight that requires careful coordination," the press secretary said. The coordination is daily between Iraq's government and the U.S.-led coalition to drive ISIL out of Fallujah and liberate the city's residents, he added.

"We continue to provide support, airstrikes being the most obvious example of support for the fight in Fallujah," Cook said, adding that Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve commander, remains the U.S. military's point person with the Iraqis in Baghdad, providing advice and counsel to government officials.

Cook said DoD is very satisfied with the counter-ISIL campaign that's led by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the Iraq government, with its Counter Terrorist Service forces in command.

Reiterating a key strategy, Cook said DoD constantly looks at "every single thing that can be done to accelerate this fight and to further put pressure on ISIL, and we'll continue to do that."

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