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Kerry Says It's Up To Iraqis To Fight IS

  • RFE/RL

"Over time, we believe that the strategy will build, the capacity will build, Daesh will become more isolated," said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. (file photo)

"Over time, we believe that the strategy will build, the capacity will build, Daesh will become more isolated," said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. (file photo)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said it was ultimately up to Iraqis to fight back against Islamic State militants advancing in Iraq.

Kerry spoke on October 12 as Iraq was hit by a series of bombings that killed scores of people in the west and north of the country, as well as in the capital, Baghdad.

The attacks came as fighting continued between government forces and Islamic State militants.

Kerry told reporters in Cairo, "Over time, we believe that the strategy will build, the capacity will build, Daesh will become more isolated," he said, referring to the jihadist IS by its acronym in Arabic. "But ultimately it is Iraqis who will have to take back Iraq. It is Iraqis in Anbar who will have to fight for Anbar."

Kerry also said that Washington is deeply concerned about the "tragedy" in the besieged Syrian city of Kobani but said it would take time to fully bring a coalition together that could confront the IS insurgents.

He added that the focus must first be on battling the IS in Iraq while at the same time degrading it in Syria.

In Washington, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said in a television interview on October 12 that Turkey agreed to let bases be used by coalition forces for activities inside Iraq and Syria and to train moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against Islamic State.

Smoke rises after an air strike by the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State targets in Kobani on October 13.

Smoke rises after an air strike by the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State targets in Kobani on October 13.

In Iraq’s Sunni heartland on October 12, to the north of Ramadi in Anbar Province, officials say a bomb blast killed the provincial police chief, General Ahmad al-Dulaimi.

That attack occurred as Dulaimi’s convoy was passing through territory that had been captured just a day earlier by government forces that are fighting IS militants.

Anbar’s provincial council has called upon the Iraqi government to ask for U.S. ground troops to help fight IS militants.

A U.S.-led coalition has supported government forces with air strikes. But Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has repeatedly ruled out any foreign ground troops in Iraq.

Three car bombers attacked a government compound about 80 kilometers north of Baquba on October 12, killing at least 22 people.

Authorities say at least 60 people were wounded as a result of the triple suicide attack in the eastern province of Diyala.

Two improvised explosive devices also were detonated at a local market in the Dur al-Dhubat district in southern Baquba on October 12, killing six civilians and wounding 10.

On October 11, a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a security checkpoint in Baghdad's northern district of Khazimiyah, killing 13 people -- including three police officers.

A second car bombing in Baghdad's nearby district of Shula killed at least seven people and wounded 28.

Also in Shula, a suicide car bomb attack on a security checkpoint killed 18 people.

In northern Syria, Islamic State suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden truck in the besieged town of Kobani on October 13, wounding two Kurdish fighters.

The attack apparently was aimed at clearing a way for IS militants to advance on the north side of Kobani near the Turkish border.

But Kurdish defenders repelled a follow-up assault by IS militants.

Aided by U.S.-led air strikes, Kurdish fighters also repelled assaults by IS militants on Kobani's east and southeast sides.

IS militants have laid siege to Kobani for nearly four weeks, taking control of about one-third of the town recently.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP
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