U.S. envoy says fight against Islamic State militants will go on

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S.-led coalition fight against Islamic State in Syria is not over, even though the group no longer controls territory, the chief U.S. diplomat for Syria warned on Monday and said the whereabouts of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi were unknown. U.S.

Reuters March 26, 2019 04:06:09 IST
U.S. envoy says fight against Islamic State militants will go on

US envoy says fight against Islamic State militants will go on

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S.-led coalition fight against Islamic State in Syria is not over, even though the group no longer controls territory, the chief U.S. diplomat for Syria warned on Monday and said the whereabouts of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi were unknown.

U.S. envoy for Syria, Jim Jeffrey, speaking to a briefing at the State Department, said Islamic State's loss of its last territorial stronghold in Syria over the weekend was a "great day" but the fight against the group will go on and U.S. forces would remain in Syria in limited numbers to help.

"This is not the end of the fight against ISIS. That will go on, but it will be a different kind of fight," Jeffrey told reporters. "ISIS has lost much of its capability to project terrorist power and to have a recruiting base in an area that it controls. So it's a very, very important development," he added.

Jeffrey said the focus of the coalition was on the enduring defeat of Islamic State and pressing governments to take back foreign fighters captured during the conflict.

He said most of the prisoners captured by the U.S.-based Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were Iraqis and Syrians. Those, he said, would be returned to their communities for "deradicalization", reintegration, and in some cases, punishment.

He dismissed reports that the U.S.-coalition was considering an international tribunal to try the prisoners. "We're not looking at that right now," he said.

It was difficult to estimate how many prisoners, including Iraqis, Syrian and foreign fighters, were being held by the SDF, he said.

"People are reporting to me we're in the 7,000 or more (range) but it may have gone up over the weekend," Jeffrey said.

Ahead of the final assault on Baghouz at the weekend, the SDF said it had 800 foreign fighters and more than 2,000 Islamic State wives and children.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Lisa Shumaker)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.