Int'l coalition military chiefs vow to intensify fight against IS
People's Daily Online
(Xinhua) 08:19, October 26, 2016
Defense chiefs of international coalition against the Islamic State (IS) during a meeting here on Tuesday vowed to intensify the fight by putting on track a military offensive to retake Reqqa, IS bastion in Syria.
"Daesh (the Islamic State) did not fall but it is weakened. Now, there is a need to increase our effort," said French Defense Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian.
Le Drian added that operation to uproot IS insurgents in Iraq's second largest city "was held to our planning."
With the support of the U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga launched a military offensive to eradicate IS fighters.
They have retaken about 90 villages and towns around Mosul held by Daesh so far, according to media reports.
After a meeting on Mosul operation, Le Drian said preparation was underway to conduct a similar action in Syria without giving a schedule.
In a joint press conference with his French counterpart, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter expressed the coalition determination to contribute to the fall of IS in Raqqa.
"There will be overlap (in the Mosul and Raqqa assaults) and that's part of our plan and we are prepared for that," he added.
Le Drian and Carter co-chaired a ministerial meeting in Paris on the situation in Iraq.
Addressing the gathering, French President Francois Hollande warned that the Mosul battle would force insurgents to flee to their bastion in Syria.
"In these columns of people leaving Mosul will be hiding terrorists who will try to go further, to Raqqa in particular," he said, calling for better intelligence cooperation to "clearly identify them."
"If Mosul falls, Raqqa will be Daesh's last bastion... We must ensure that Daesh is destroyed and eradicated everywhere," he stressed.
France was one of the first European countries to join the U.S.-led coalition against IS. Its fighter jets have joined the bombing against the group in Iraq in 2014.
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