Military chiefs gather in Paris to bolster Islamic State fight

Defense chiefs from the United States, France, Britain and four other countries meet in Paris on Wednesday to examine ways to build on gains made against Islamic State, including increasing the number of police and army trainers.


Islamic State was ousted by government forces from the western Iraqi city of Ramadi last month and has been slowly pushed back in other areas.


“The object of today is to satisfy ourselves that the balance of the campaign is right…and that we can now capitalize on the setbacks Daesh has suffered in Iraq and move on to tighten the noose around the head of the snake in Syria in Raqqa,” British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told reporters before the meeting.


Daesh is the Arabic derogatory acronym to describe Islamic state.


Fallon said the group had lost 25 percent of the area it controlled in Iraq and 10 percent in Syria.


U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the talks, which also include, Germany, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands, would focus on how to accelerate the campaign. This could include an increase in the number of trainers and police who can help hold territory seized from Islamic State.


France was the first country to join U.S.-led air strikes in Iraq. Since the Paris attacks by Islamic State militants in November, President Francois Hollande has stepped up French aerial operations against Islamic State, including in Syria, contributing about 20 percent of coalition strikes.


“It’s not just about adding more planes, but also trainers to accelerate the speed with which local forces can retake territory against Daesh,” a French official said.


Read More: Military chiefs gather in Paris to bolster Islamic State fight | Reuters