BFF-82 Fighting may last months in last IS holdout in Syria: French general

ZCZC

BFF-82

SYRIA-CONFLICT-US-MILITARY

Fighting may last months in last IS holdout in Syria: French general

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – The Islamic State group in Syria now
controls only a small pocket of terrain, a French military official said
Tuesday, though he cautioned fighting there could take several more months.

Brigadier General Frederic Parisot, who heads civil-military operations for
the US-led coalition fighting IS in Syria and Iraq, told Pentagon reporters
the jihadists now hold an area of about 30 by 10 kilometers (18 by six
miles).

This terrain is located in eastern Deir Ezzor province, and includes the
town of Hajin, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Iraq’s border.

Parisot said the fight against IS would last “for at least two or three
months” and noted that a few hundred jihadists remain.

“We don’t know how many. But we want to make sure that we kill all of
them,” he said.

Pentagon officials added that since April 24, the coalition has killed six
IS leaders and planners in strikes.

IS declared a cross-border “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq in 2014, seizing a
third of Iraq and vast chunks of northern Syria during a sweeping offensive.

The jihadists have since lost almost all the ground to separate counter-
offensives by Syrian and Iraqi forces as well as US-led operations.

In December the Iraqi government declared victory over IS but the military
has continued regular operations targeting mostly desert areas along the
porous Syrian border.

BSS/AFP/MRI/2331 hrs