Assad completely excluded from anti-ISIL coalition: official


U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey hold a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington. (Reuters)

ARA News

Damascus, Syria During a press conference at the U.S. Ministry of Defence, the Pentagon, Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey said that air strikes are not enough to defeat the Islamic State (IS/ISIL). Chuck Hagel, the defense minister, and Martin Dempsey, Chief of Staff, the former said: “the Islamic State (IS/ ISIS) -al Qaeda offshoot- cannot be defeated solely with air strikes.”

“Syrian opposition needs 12-15 thousand fighters to re-control IS-held areas east of Syria; as 5 thousand cannot fulfill this task,” Dempsey said, commenting on the capacity of the rebels on the ground amid the fight against IS militants in Syria.

Dempsey pointed out that “air strikes that the U.S. with its allies are carrying out against IS in Syria disrupted the its leadership and control centers as well as its supply lines”.

Meanwhile the U.S. Defence Minister, Chuck Hagel, emphasized that the Assad regime is completely excluded from the anti-IS international coalition.

“The Syrian regime can never participate in the coalition,” Hagel said.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-led anti-IS Coalition carried out more than 20 air raids on the group’s strongholds in the city of Raqqa and its environs -northeast of Syria- on Friday midnight.

Speaking to ARA News in Raqqa, civil activist Mohammad Khalil said: “Air strikes targeted IS strongholds in Tabqa and its countryside -in Raqqa province- where al-Qireen training camp and Tabqa military airport were hit, causing a fire in the airport and the power being cut all over the city of Tabqa as well as killing and injuring several IS militant fighters.”


Reporting by: Mohammed Darwish

Source: ARA News

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