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US Secretary of Defense Hagel Outlines Members of Coalition Against IS

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The US-led international coalition to combat the Islamic State (IS, ISIL) jihadist group was announced by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in a Tuesday morning hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

WASHINGTON, September 16 (RIA Novosti) - The US-led international coalition to combat the Islamic State (IS, ISIL) jihadist group was announced by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in a Tuesday morning hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"More than 40 nations have already expressed their willingness to participate in this effort, and more than 30 nations have indicated their readiness to offer military support," Secretary Hagel said in his opening remarks.

Outlining the members of the coalition, Hagel named the 22 member nations of the Arab league, who adopted a resolution in Cairo last week, calling for comprehensive measures to combat the IS. At the early September NATO summit, Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry received assurances of support from Turkey and Georgia. Additionally, the six members of the Arab League signed a communique in Jeddah last week to "do their share in the comprehensive fight," against the IS group.

In Europe, French President Francois Hollande convened a meeting of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and European and Arab leaders. According to Hagel, "They all pledged to help Iraq in the fight against ISIL, including through military assistance."

Hagel also made clear that the United States will not be cooperating with the Assad government, but plans to spend some $500 million on training, equipping and supplying moderate Syrian rebels.

Secretary Hagel expects next week's meeting of the UN General Assembly, chaired by Obama, to lead to further commitments to combat the IS. "[We] expect that additional nations will begin making commitments across the spectrum of capabilities, building on the strong Chapter VII UN Security Council Resolution adopted last month calling on all member states to take measures to counter ISIL and suppress the flow of foreign fighters to ISIL," Hagel said.

Following the surge in influence of the IS group, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria and the executions of American and British civilians, US President Barack Obama publicly announced a strategy to counter the threat, implying the creation of a broad anti-IS coalition. Obama also stressed he would not hesitate to authorize US airstrikes against the jihadists on Syrian territory – a stance, opposed by Damascus and Moscow.

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