Anti-ISIS coalition to meet in Washington

Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Kobane, as seen from the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province October 11, 2014.

Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Kobane, as seen from the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province October 11, 2014.

A meeting that is set to begin in Washington on Monday will bring together the top military commanders from 20 countries that are part of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group.

The summit will be hosted by top-ranking U.S. military officer Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, from Oct. 13 to 14, according to a U.S. military official quoted by Foreign Policy magazine.

The U.S.-led coalition has so far carried out more than 350 strikes against ISIS since U.S. President Barack Obama first ordered military operations against the group in August.

While the White House says it will not allow U.S. troops to be dragged into another ground war in Iraq, Dempsey suggested in an interview broadcast on Sunday that U.S. troops would probably need to play a bigger role alongside Iraqi forces on the ground in future, according to Reuters.

“Mosul will likely be the decisive battle in the ground campaign at some point in the future,” Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told ABC’s This Week. Mosul is the main city in northern Iraq, which Islamic State overran in June and the government has pledged to recapture.

Dempsey raised the possibility last month that he could in future advise that a U.S. ground presence is needed in Iraq, although the White House says this is ruled out.

Turkish refusal

The biggest army in the area belongs to Turkey, a NATO member which so far has refused to join the U.S.-led coalition striking Islamic State. Its reluctance has frustrated Washington as well as Turkey’s own angry Kurdish minority.

ISIS has currently been engaging in offensives in the Syrian border town of Kobane, and the surrounding areas of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

On Sunday, Kurdish defenders held off ISIS militants in Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, but the extremist group struck with deadly bombings in Iraq, killing dozens of Kurds in the north and assassinating a provincial police commander in the east.

 
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