Coalition military chiefs to meet in US next week – officials
WASHINGTON DC, USA – Military chiefs from 21 countries in the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS or the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq) group in Syria and Iraq will gather next week in Washington to discuss the war effort, two defense officials said Friday, October 10.
The meeting will occur against the backdrop of sobering news from the front, with ISIS jihadists threatening to seize control of the Syrian border town of Kobane as well as western towns in Iraq, despite a sustained campaign of air raids by US and coalition aircraft.
The US military's top ranking officer, General Martin Dempsey, "will convene a meeting of more than 20 foreign chiefs of defense next week in Washington DC to discuss the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against ISIL (ISIS group)," said a defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The extraordinary meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 14, at Andrews Air Force base outside the US capital.
The four-star general overseeing the air war, General Lloyd Austin, head of US Central Command, also will be on hand to brief his fellow officers on the state of the conflict.
The gathering will include all the European partners in the coalition and all 5 Arab states taking an active role in the American-led air strikes against ISIS militants – Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, officials told Agence France-Presse.
Australia, which has sent warplanes to join the air strikes, was also expected to send its military chief, officials said.
The talks were expected to focus in part on training and arming "moderate" rebel forces in Syria and Iraqi government troops to take on the ISIS extremists, who have seized a large stretch of territory in Syria and Iraq.
But the gathering is also meant to carry a symbolic message, highlighting broad international support for the fight against the ISIS group.
The announcement came as the air war entered its third month in Iraq and its third week in Syria.
Earlier this week military officers said the coalition operation has involved nearly 5,000 sorties, including bombing raids, refueling missions and surveillance flights. – Rappler.com