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    US-Led Coalition Should 'Truly Unite Forces' With Russia to Defeat Daesh

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    As Daesh has doubled its efforts to wreak havoc beyond its terror caliphate and sectarian violence is spilling over to other countries in the Middle East, the US-led coalition still refuses to genuinely cooperate with Russia to tackle terrorism, Colonel in the French Army Reserve Caroline Galacteros wrote for Le Figaro.

    The brutal group that retains its grip on large parts of Iraq and Syria is seemingly losing ground. The Syrian Arab Army, Iraqi security forces and their local allies are preparing large-scale operations to free Raqqa and Mosul, key cities in the caliphate. Their liberation is expected to deal a major blow to Daesh.

    For Galacteros, the reports of the group's looming death are greatly exaggerated. She called Daesh's defeat "an illusion," adding that the West made mistakes that contributed to the rise of Islamist groups.

    "Sectarian violence is spreading like wildfire, now threatening the stability of Lebanon, Jordan and even Turkey," she added.

    Daesh has played a major role in this process. The group has previously relied on suicide bombings and terrorist attacks to distract attention from its losses, instill fear into its opponents and feed on sectarian grievances. Recent developments indicate that the group will try to focus on this last tactic.

    Major attacks in Turkey and Iraq are a case in point. A devastating bombing in Baghdad on July 3 claimed 292 lives, making it the worst terrorist attack since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. On June 28, gun fire and suicide bombings at Turkey's Ataturk Airport in Istanbul left more than 45 people killed and 230 wounded.

    Galacteros referred to these and other similar attacks as Daesh's "destabilization offensive."

    It is against this backdrop that Western countries "continue to refuse to truly unite forces with Moscow to end" the terrorist reign in the Middle East, she added.

    For their part, Russian officials, including President Putin, have repeatedly said that international terrorism is a threat so serious that it could only be defeated if everyone joins forces. In particular, Moscow has offered the United States to coordinate their anti-Daesh efforts in Syria, hope to the caliphate's capital of Raqqa.

    This cooperation would be possible if the Obama administration "silences 'hawks' in NATO and elsewhere, respects Russia's 'red lines' with regard to Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia, as well as relaxes the financial and economic pressure on Moscow via sanctions," Galacteros added.

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    Tags:
    Syrian conflict, Russian aerial campaign, Islamic extremism, radical Islam, terrorist attack, counterterrorism, Ataturk airport attack, Daesh, Syria, United States, Russia
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