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Kerry Says Coalition Against IS Militants Will Prevail

  • RFE/RL

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State militants is "united and moving ahead on all fronts" and "will engage in this campaign for as long as it takes to prevail."

Kerry made the remarks at the start of meetings in Brussels on December 3 with foreign ministers from many of about 60 nations in the international coalition.

The talks at NATO headquarters are focused on reviewing progress and plotting new strategies against IS militants.

Kerry said the international coalition recognizes there is much “hard work that remains to be done” against the militants, who have seized large parts of Iraq and Syria, and that the “commitment will be measured most likely in years.”

Kerry said: "The United States is constantly looking for the means to enhance the effectiveness of our actions, and I am confident that each of the coalition members represented here is going to do the same."

He said the swift rise of IS militants during the summer "has left those terrorists very exposed" and that casualties among them "are going up by the day."

He also said Islamic State militants "have sought to hijack a whole faith" but that Muslim leaders around the world are speaking out against them.

Using the word “Daesh,” an Arabic acronym for the IS militants, Kerry also said the group’s “repellent nature is becoming more evident with every ugly execution and every former recruit’s admission of being duped into believing Daesh is something that it most clearly is not.”

Kerry indicated that the talks in Brussels would extend beyond military strategies to confront IS militants.

He said the coalition members also are expected to examine how to reduce the flow of foreign fighters that have been flocking to Iraq and Syria to join the IS militants.

He said the coalition talks also are addressing international financial measures that could be imposed to help cut off funding for IS militants, as well as communications strategies to counter the militant group’s propaganda on websites and social media.

The United States launched its first air strikes against IS militants in Iraq in August.

In late September, the air strikes were extended to IS targets in Syria, involving the United States as well as other coalition members.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Bahrain are all taking part in the air strikes in Syria.

Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, and the Netherlands are participating in the air strikes in Iraq.

On December 2, the Pentagon said it had “indications” that Iran had conducted air strikes against Islamic State militants in eastern Iraq in recent days.

A senior Iranian official denied that.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said it was up to the Iraqi government to oversee and coordinate military flights by other countries over its airspace.

Iran is not part of the U.S.-led coalition against the IS militants and Tehran did not send representatives to the December 3 coalition talks in Brussels.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa
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