Iraqi seems ready to launch ground offensive against Isis militanats

February 9, 2015 2:06 pm

Iraqi troops will begin a ground offensive to take back swathes of
the country seized by the Islamic State group, the US coordinator for
the international coalition against the jihadists says.
“There
will be a major counter-offensive on the ground in ,” top US envoy
John Allen said in an interview with Jordan’s official Petra
agency.
“In
the weeks ahead, when the Iraqi forces begin the ground campaign to
take back Iraq, the coalition will provide major firepower associated
with that,” he added, stressing that the Iraqis would lead the
offensive.
Allen dismissed accusations that there has been a
delay in the supply of US weapons and training to Iraqi troops on the
frontline of the conflict, telling Petra: “The United States is doing
all it can to deliver its support as quickly as possible.”

The US has been leading an aerial campaign against the
jihadists, who have seized swathes of Iraq and and have imposed a
brutal form of Islam in the territory.
Jordan, part of the
coalition, announced Sunday that it had conducted dozens of air strikes
on Islamic State () targets after the group burned one of its air
force pilots to death and released a gruesome video of the execution.

A fighter protects a shrine sacred to the Yazidis – a religious minority targetted by Isis – in northern Iraq. Photo / AP
US Secretary of State John Kerry said the assault was beginning to win back territory and deprive the jihadists of key funds.
There
have been 2000 air strikes on Isis since the coalition’s formation in
August, Kerry told the Munich Security Conference on Sunday.
The air war had helped to retake some 700sq km of territory, or “one-fifth of the area they had in their control”, he said.
The top US diplomat did not specify whether the regained territory was in Iraq or Syria.
But
he added the coalition had “deprived the militants of the use of 200
oil and gas facilities … disrupted their command structure …
squeezed its finance and dispersed its personnel.”

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