Monday, June 22, 2015

WAR ON ISIS - U.S. Envoy Comments

"Obama’s envoy says U.S. and allies have momentum against Islamic State in Iraq" PBS NewsHour 6/16/2015


SUMMARY:  Although Kurdish-Syrian forces recently recaptured the town of Tal Abyad on Syria’s border, many are still concerned about the rise of Islamic State militants.  Retired Gen. John Allen, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, talks to Judy Woodruff about the Islamic State group and the progress of the fight against it.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  The Islamic State group suffered a major defeat in the last 24 hours, losing a vital supply line to its self-proclaimed capital, Raqqa.  The ISIS loss happened inside Syria, near the Turkish border, in a town called Tal Abyad.  Kurdish fighters and members of the Free Syrian Army took control of the area after days of fighting.  They were helped by three U.S. coalition airstrikes on Islamic State targets.

The development comes on the heels of the Obama administration’s announcement that it is sending an additional 450 trainers to Iraq to fight the Sunni militant group.

Helping coordinate efforts with allies against the Islamic State is retired Marine General John Allen, the president’s special envoy.

I spoke to him earlier today at the State Department, as part of our series "No End in Sight."

General John Allen, thank you very much for talking with us.

GEN. JOHN ALLEN (RET.), International Coalition Coordinator:  It’s always a pleasure, Judy.  Thank you.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  So, you have just come back from a trip to Iraq and a number of other countries.  The news lately about ISIS has been pretty disappointing, in fact, discouraging.  But there was some good news yesterday out of Syria and a battle right on the Turkish border.  What you can tell us about that?

GEN. JOHN ALLEN:  Well, the reporting is still coming, coming together on this, Judy.

It’s a long-term effort that’s been under way by some of the resistance elements in that region to ultimately cut off a border crossing called Tal Abyad.  And it, we believe, is one of the principal sources for supply to Da’esh, or ISIL’s capital in Raqqa to the south.

So, we’re waiting to get more reporting on it.  We will get more over the next few days and get a better and a clearer picture.  But one thing that’s very important, I think, is, as these forces continue to operate, we’re going to continue to make the point with them that they have to protect the populations that they’re liberating.  It’s essential, really, to the stabilization of the area.  So we’re going to watch that as well.

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