Tillerson raises alarm at meeting of coalition fighting ISIS

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought on Tuesday to refocus the U.S.-led coalition charged with fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group on its mission amid a series of confrontations in the region.

“The end of major combat operations does not mean we have achieved the enduring defeat of ISIS,” Tillerson said at a meeting of coalition members in Kuwait.

“ISIS remains a serious threat to the stability of the region, our homelands and other parts of the globe,” he added. “Without continued attention and support from coalition members, we risk the return of extremist groups like ISIS in liberated areas of Iraq and Syria and their spread to new locations.”


He also announced that the U.S. would provide an additional $200 million for stabilization and recovery efforts in parts of Syria liberated from ISIS control. 

Tillerson’s comments come amid heightened tensions between the United States and Turkey, which has launched a military campaign against U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in northern Syria in recent weeks.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units in Syria is considered by Washington to be a top ally in the fight against ISIS. But Ankara regards the group as linked to Kurdish separatists in Turkey that the government considers terrorists. 

Turkey launched a military incursion into Kurdish enclaves in northern Syria last month, drawing criticism from the U.S. and prompting concerns of a potential confrontation between Turkish and American forces in the region. 

Also driving concerns in the region is a flare-up in tensions between Israel, Syria and Iran over the weekend that began when Israel downed what it claimed was an Iranian drone in its airspace.

An Israeli fighter jet was shot down after a strike on what Israel said was the command center in Syria where Iran launched the drone. 

While Israel, Syria and Iran are not members of the anti-ISIS coalition led by the U.S., the confrontation between longtime foes added to concerns of mounting hostilities in a region of the world already roiled by instability. 

Tags Iran ISIS ISIS Islamic State in Iraq and Syria Israel Rex Tillerson Rex Tillerson Syria Turkey
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