Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Coalition has no plans to target IS in Syrian government-controlled areas

New cold war with Russia? Coalition has no plans to target IS in Syrian government-controlled areas
Faye Gross | 28 December, 2017, 01:54

"We are taking those individuals off the battlefield", Gedney said, calling on the Syrian government to clear the areas from Daesh under its control.

The worldwide coalition against the ISIS on Wednesday accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of allowing the jihadists to move through territory he controls "with impunity". We report today that thousands of Westerners serving with Isis forces have escaped encirclement in the final battles along the border between Syria and Iraq.

"We will continue to deconflict with the Russians, but we have got no intention to operate in areas that are now held by the regime", Gedney said.

"We will continue to prevent conflicts with Russians, but we don't intend to continue operations in areas controlled by Assad", Gedney said. "We can only defeat ISIS in areas our partners control".

Fewer than 1,000 Islamic State fighters remain in Iraq and Syria, the United States-led worldwide coalition fighting the hardline Sunni militant group said on Wednesday, a third of the estimated figure only three weeks ago. USA troops have served as advisers on the ground with Iraqi government forces and with Kurdish and Arab groups in Syria.

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When asked whether the coalition will target the militants in areas controlled by the Syrian regime, Gedney said they did not plan to. "Our pursuit of these terrorists is as tenacious and determined as ever", he said.

"The coalition will remain committed to the mission in Syria until ISIS no longer poses a threat and a [United Nations]-backed peace process is implemented to ensure lasting stability in the country", British Army Major Gen. Felix Gedney, deputy commander of strategy and support for the coalition, told reporters during a Pentagon briefing on Wednesday. Most of the fighters had been killed or captured over the past three years, the coalition said on Wednesday.

In Raqqa, which ISIS had called the capital of its "caliphate", the focus was on removing improvised explosive devices left behind by ISIS to allow displaced persons to return, Gedney said.

The situation was similar in Iraq, where the coalition was putting more emphasis on training police and border guards, Gedney said.

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