The U.S. Defence Secretary, Ash Carter said on Thursday that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump must commit to “destroying the tumour of Daesh’’ by leading the fight against the extremist group.
Members of the Global Coalition against Daesh discussed the acceleration of the campaign against the extremist group in Syria and Iraq in 2017 at its sixth meeting this year.
The sixth meeting was hosted by British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon in London.
After the one-day summit, Fallon and Carter announced the US will strengthen ties with Britain’s armed forces to continue their military campaigns in Syria and Iraq.
Carter urged incoming President Trump to maintain the U.S’s place as leader of the fight against Islamic State.
“There is a need for the U.S. to remain actively engaged as leader of this coalition,’’ he said.
Carter announced that the coalition will continue to kill the group’s leaders, cut off its resources and target its bases to stop it from spreading.
However, he added that destroying the idea of a caliphate based on Islamic State’s extremist ideology is essential for defeating the extremist organisation.
Tackling Islamic State’s attempts to relocate and reinvent itself must therefore be at the forefront of ramping up plans to counter the ongoing threat in the coming year.
Fallon and Carter also reaffirmed their position that there is no place in Syria’s future for President Bashar Al-Assad.
“Solving the crisis in Syria ultimately means a political settlement.
“We will be assisting the Iraqi government in establishing an apparatus that ensures all religions and ethnic groups can feel safe in the future,’’ Carter said.
Fallon urged Assad and Russia’s President Putin to abandon their military tactics and return to the negotiating table.
The coalition has carried out more than 300 strikes since November as part of the operation to isolate the Syrian city of Raqqa, Islamic State’s de facto capital.
Alongside it is working with Iraqi forces in the campaign to retake the city of Mosul from Islamic State.
They have trained more than 31,000 Iraqi and Peshmerga troops. “Daesh is losing ground, finance and fighters,’’ Fallon said.
“In 2017, we must maintain momentum to deal these terrorists a decisive blow,’’ he said.
The 68-member coalition includes Germany, France and Italy, as well as Australia, Turkey, Canada and New Zealand.