05:09 GMT14 August 2020
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    The US-led coalition is concerned over an external plot in the Syrian city Raqqa and Daesh terror group’s potential use of chemical weapons, Operation Inherent Resolve Commanding General Stephen Townsend said in a briefing Wednesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The commander asserted that Daesh has a "chem-bio program." The group has already demonstrated a capability and willingness to use chemical agents against opponents.

    "We are concerned about external ops [operations] plotting in Raqqa," Townsend told reporters.

    Townsend added that the locus of the terrorists’ program has been the Iraqi city of Mosul, currently the target of an anti-Daesh offensive by Iraqi forces backed by the coalition.

    According to the US commander, it’s unlikely that the terrorists will move their program from Mosul to Raqqa.

    "If they are going to move it out of Mosul, they are going to move it somewhere else, probably not to Raqqa, because they know they are going to lose both of those [cities] in the coming months," Townsend said.

    He also said that the coalition has no timetable in retaking Mosul from Daesh.

    "We are not on a timetable for Mosul," Townsend told reporters. "The attack on Mosul started on time and it is progressing, though probably not as fast as I, as a US Army officer, would like, but the Iraqis are advancing every day."

    The operation could be over in two days or next spring, he said.

    "We are just going to let it go at the Iraqis’ pace," the commander stated. "The Iraqis are the ones doing the fighting and dying, and I think that’s appropriate."

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    Tags:
    chemical weapons, Daesh, Stephen Townsend, Iraq, Mosul, United States, Syria, Raqqa
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