Liberation of Syrian Raqqa to Be Next Step After Iraqi Mosul Freed - Hollande
The liberation of the Syrian city of Raqqa, currently held by the Daesh terrorist group, will be the next target of the international coalition, French President Francois Hollande, currently on a visit to Iraqi capital of Baghdad, said Monday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Earlier on Monday, French media reported that Hollande had given a speech in front of another French unit, stressing the importance of the fight against terrorism in Iraq as it would help prevent terrorist attacks in France.
"The next objective is Raqqa. France is part of [the US-led international] coalition in Iraq as well as in Syria," Hollande said, as quoted on the Elysee Palace's Twitter.
The president, who had earlier met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi, added that France was advising the Iraqi forces and conducting airstrikes against the terrorists to help them, but it was the Iraqi soldiers who were fighting on the ground and they would be the ones to win back Mosul.
"Our only enemy is Daesh," Hollande stressed.
Hollande's agenda for the day includes giving out medicaments and humanitarian aid with the Kurdistan region's President Masoud Barzani and meeting with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and French military personnel who advise them.
On October 17, 2016, Iraqi government forces, backed by the US-led coalition of more than 60 nations, began an offensive to retake the country's second largest city, Mosul, from the Daesh terrorist group, outlawed in Russia and many other countries.
France has participated in the airstrikes against Daesh targets carried out by the coalition, but has not deployed any ground troops.
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