Anti-IS Coalition Making Progress in Fighting Extremists in Iraq:US General

© Sputnik / Andrey Stenin / Go to the photo bankThe international anti-Islamic State coalition is making progress in its fight against the militants, who have ceased vast areas in Iraq and Syria, US Gen. John Allen, who in charge of the coalition, has announced.
The international anti-Islamic State coalition is making progress in its fight against the militants, who have ceased vast areas in Iraq and Syria, US Gen. John Allen, who in charge of the coalition, has announced. - Sputnik International
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US Gen. John Allen has stated that the US-led anti-IS coalition is making progress in fighting the extremists in Iraq, which is the main focus of US efforts, while Syria comes second.

This undated image posted by the Raqqa Media Center, a Syrian opposition group, on Monday, June 30, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during a parade in Raqqa, Syria. - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON, December 12 (Sputnik) – The international anti-Islamic State coalition is making progress in its fight against the militants, who have ceased vast areas in Iraq and Syria, US Gen. John Allen, who in charge of the coalition, has announced.

"We believe that the strategic and operational momentum of Daish [IS] has been halted," Gen. Allen said Thursday, adding that while he expects some ground will be traded back and forth between extremists and coalition forces, the start of US and its allies' training of the Iraqi Security Forces and Syria's "moderate" opposition "will begin the process of reversing the momentum in Iraq" and ultimately restoring its territorial integrity.

According to the General, the main focus of US efforts against IS militants is Iraq, while Syria comes second. The United States is expected to begin a program to retrain Iraqi security forces under the new government of Iraq, Allen explained, adding that members of the coalition are also keeping a close watch on neighboring countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Lebanon.

Smoke raises behind an Islamic State flag after Iraqi security forces and Shiite fighters took control of Saadiya in Diyala province from Islamist State militants, November 24, 2014. - Sputnik International
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Earlier this week, US President Barack Obama's deputy special envoy to the anti-IS coalition, Brett McGurk said that the US program to train and equip Syria's moderate opposition will not begin before March, 2015.

The program was temporarily authorized by Congress in September. Earlier that month, Obama announced his anti-IS strategy, which stipulated forming an international coalition to fight against the radical jihadist group, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The coalition has been launching airstrikes against IS targets since September and currently has 62 participating states, with multiple international organizations also taking part in the US-led campaign.

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