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US joint chiefs: ISIS is ‘adaptable and flexible’

By Zhelwan Z. Wali 22/10/2015
Joseph F. Dunford. Photo: AP.
Joseph F. Dunford. Photo: AP.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph F. Dunford detailed the latest developments on the battlefields against the Islamic State group (ISIS or ISIL) in Iraq following his meeting with Kurdish President Masoud Barzani.

Speaking to reporters traveling with him to Erbil, Dunford said that the fight against ISIS is very tough because the extremist group is ”adaptable and flexible.”

“We want to create pressure against ISIL across Iraq and Syria,” the Department of Defense quoted Dunford as telling reporters on his trip to Erbil.

Kurdish forces in Syria are operating against ISIL lines of communication that extend from the group’s de facto capital of Raqqa to Mosul in Iraq and on to Erbil, Dunford said.

These operations will “make life difficult for ISIL,” the general said. He explained that the Kurds have taken back “a not insignificant amount of ground from ISIL.”

Iraqi forces successfully recaptured the oil-rich refinery town of Baiji in Salahaddin province, driving out the militants, he said.

“The number of Sunni that have been trained and armed is about 6,000 in Anbar province, and they want to grow to about 8,500," Dunford added.

On the police side of the ledger, the government was looking for 16,000 Sunnis to volunteer, and they are now at around 11,000 to 12,000.

Dunford described Iraqi forces in Ramadi as a stabilizing force.

"The important thing about this is, the police are the stabilization force for Ramadi,” the general said. “That was encouraging to me, because clearing Ramadi is one thing… but we all know from experience that you have to have a plan for stabilization afterward," Dunford said.

"Defending Baghdad is clearly the most important mission in Iraq, and that is a main effort," he emphasized.Earlier this week, Barzani received  Dunford and his accompanying delegation.

The two leaders discussed the fight against ISIS and the position of the Peshmerga on the frontlines, according to a statement released by Barzani’s office.

“We are doing a sacred duty in fighting against ISIS, because we fight an organization which does not have a humanitarian conscience,” a statement  quoted Barzani as saying to the US delegation.

Dunford reportedly thanked the Kurdistan region for stopping ISIS from any further advances. 


Muraz Adzhoev | 22/10/2015
ISIS will remain "adaptable and flexible" in failed Iraq and failed Syria, until the Kurdish Peshmerga ground forces are not appropriately armed with heavy weapons, until Southern and Western Kurdistan is not officially recognized, at least by the US, as the already incoming independent federative state, which should and will never ever have anything to do with territorial and political integrities of Syria and Iraq. Was this key issue discussed and approved during that meeting?
fermin | 22/10/2015
If you want to make life really difficult for ISIL then support YPG in taking their last border crossing with Turkey in Jarabelus. That's ISIL's last life line!, that's why the Turkish government has warned that any intervention by either YPG or Assad's forces on that area (which they call 'safe zone') will lead to war with Turkey.
From The Italian Observatory | 22/10/2015
Actually the USA has not any significant role to play in what used to be called Iraq and Syria and it is largely being pushed away by Iran and Russia.
René Descartes | 22/10/2015
If the USA wants to have any say in the regin it must fully support the Kurdish State and support actively the creation of a Kurdish National Army by merging the now divided groups of peshermrg and PYD.
Muraz Adzhoev | 23/10/2015
Peshmerga army and YPG forces will be able and capable to defend the motherland only if Kurdistan is free and independent state. Federalization is not the way out of bloody conflicts, disastrous humanitarian catastrophes and terrorism in Syria. Look at the so called Iraqi federative state. Federalism will be naturally appropriate system for Kurdistan's multicultural statehood and multinational brotherhood of peace.

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