US-led coalition to extend its mission in Syria — US official

The Pentagon is close to extending the mission of the US-led coalition in Syria, a top Pentagon official said in an interview with the Washington Times.

“US officials fear the return of ISIS in a stronger form, and closely watch the terrorist organization’s attempt to establish new bases in Asia and Africa,” the Washington Times reported.

The newspaper quoted from a senior official of the Pentagon saying: “The material caliphate of the Islamic State has been eliminated, but the Trump’s administration talks about keeping the US-led Coalition to counter the efforts of terrorist groups to reorganize their ranks and stand up against ISIS’s attempt to revive again in the hot spots around the world.”

“US military officials are trying to secure peers’ commitments from all the 79 members of the Coalition to continue the group’s work in places like southeast Asia. And diplomats at the State Department are working with their counterparts in the International Coalition countries to build a more organized coalition,” said Catherine Wilbarger, the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.”

“Keeping the Coalition in the situation maintains the stability and strength of the Coalition, especially as the fighting shifts from the conventional war in Iraq and Syria to fighting against ISIS cells around the world. We expect the threat to develop, and the importance of the alliance is our priority,” said Wilbarger.

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