Daesh to lose all territory in Syria by 2019: French army chief
Iran Press TV
Thu Sep 6, 2018 02:59PM
The French military chief says the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group will have been flushed out from all the territory it once controlled in Syria under a self-proclaimed "caliphate" before the end of this year.
France's Chief of Defense Staff Francois Lecointre made the remark in a press conference on Thursday, adding that the physical annihilation of the so-called caliphate would "probably" occur "late autumn."
Daesh is no longer in control of any urban bastions in Syria and its sporadic presence in the Arabic country is quickly shirking against advancing government troops. As for Iraq, the Iraqi central government in late December declared victory against the terror group, stressing that the terror outfit had lost all of its urban strongholds.
However, the sporadic presence of Daesh in small pockets of land in some deserts and rural areas of Syria has helped the terror group launch deadly attacks against civilians and army soldiers alike.
The US, along with dozens of its allies, including France, launched a military operation against purported Daesh targets in August 2014, a few months after the terror group seized large swaths of land in Iraq and commenced its reign of terror and destruction.
The US and its allies have also been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be the positions of Daesh terrorists inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.
The US-led coalition has been repeatedly accused of targeting and killing civilians across the Arab country. It has also been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared aim of destroying Daesh.
"Once the physical caliphate has fallen... we will pose the question of how to reconfigure Operation Inherent Resolve," Lecointre further said on Thursday, referring to the US-led coalition's military intervention in Iraq and Syria.
He also pledged to downscale the French troop contingent -- currently more than 1,000-strong – "as soon as I can."
Russia, which has been offering military assistance to Damascus upon a Syrian government's request since September 2015, has already said that the presence of the US-led coalition in the form of "a wide range of foreign countries" is "illegitimate" because "nobody has invited them" to the war-torn Arab country.
Syrian army troopers, backed by allied fighters from popular defense groups, have recently made major territorial gains in battles against Daesh and other foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorist groups, almost capturing the entire southern part of the country after securing Damascus and other key areas.
Apart from militant-held Idlib, which is waiting for an upcoming operation by Syrian army soldiers, Takfiri militants are also in control of some areas of the western-central province of Hama, and are holding some desert regions near the border with Turkey.
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