Flag of the Islamic State

The United States wants to bolster a coalition fighting Islamic State in northeastern Syria, a senior State Department official said on Monday, after the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in weekend operation.

World leaders welcomed his death, but they and security experts warned that ISIS, which carried out atrocities against religious minorities and horrified most Muslims remained a security threat in Syria and beyond.

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The official said that  President, Donald Trump, by announcing the withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria on Oct. 6, did not suggest that Washington was abandoning the fight against Islamic State.

“There was never an idea that we would abandon the mission of going after ISIS, this is a major effort that is continuing,” the official told reporters.

Foreign ministers will meet in Washington on Nov. 14 to discuss the mission. Trump has softened his pullout plans for Syria after a backlash from Congress, including fellow Republicans, who say he enabled a long-threatened Turkish incursion on Oct. 9 against Kurdish forces in Syria who had been America’s top allies in the battle against ISIS since 2014.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to say if the U.S. had told Russia about the operation in advance. But he added: “If this information is confirmed we can talk about a serious contribution by the president of the United States to the fight against international terrorism.”

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French President Emmanuel Macron said Baghdadi’s death was a major blow against ISIS but “the fight continues to finally defeat this terrorist organization”.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We will work with our coalition partners to bring an end to the murderous, barbaric activities of Daesh (ISIS) once and for all.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters: “This is a many-headed monster, as you cut one off, another one inevitably arises.”

In Southeast Asia, an important focus for Islamic State, officials said security forces were preparing for a long battle to thwart the group’s ideology.

Source: Reuters

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