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Anti-Daesh Fight to Go Beyond Mosul, Raqqa - NATO Military Committee Head

© REUTERS / Nour FouratIslamic State billboards are seen along a street in Raqqa, eastern Syria. The billboard (R) reads: "We will win despite the global coalition" (File)
Islamic State billboards are seen along a street in Raqqa, eastern Syria. The billboard (R) reads: We will win despite the global coalition (File) - Sputnik International
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The fight against terrorism is not limited to military operations but includes the fight on social, economic, religious fronts and will not stop when terrorist strongholds in Syria and Iraq are liberated, NATO's Chairman of the Military Committee Gen. Petr Pavel said Wednesday.

BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — Pavel noted that it was important to distinguish between physical defeat of terrorists and triumph over their ideology.

"We do not understand terrorism only as Daesh… Countering terrorism is not just about defeating Daesh… This will be a long-lasting fight that will not end by taking Mosul and Raqqa. This fight will go on a much broader front, both military, but also economic, social, political, religious," Pavel told reporters.

NATO's Military Committee is in favor of the alliance formally joining the US-led coalition, he said. "The discussion is if NATO is to become the member of that coalition… The chiefs' of defense recommendation is that there is a merit for NATO becoming a member of that coalition," Pavel told reporters.

A member of Ahrar al-Sham fires against a position of the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) during clashes in the countryside of the northern Syrian Raqqa province on August 25, 2013. - Sputnik International
US-Led Coalition Targets Daesh Bridge Near Raqqa as City Gets Isolated
The Syrian city of Raqqa and Iraqi city of Mosul have been two of the largest cities held by Daesh in the Middle East.

In November 2016, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which predominately consists of Kurdish fighters, but also includes members of the Syrian Arab Coalition, launched an operation called the Rage of Euphrates in order to seize control over Syrian Raqqa, the de facto Daesh capital, and are now starting the fourth stage of the campaign aimed at liberating the rural areas of Raqqa province from terrorists.

The city of Mosul has been occupied by Daesh, outlawed in many countries, including Russia, since 2014. The operation to retake it began on October 17, 2016 and resulted in the liberation of Mosul’s eastern part this January, but fighting continues in the city's western areas. The operation to liberate it started on February 19.

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