Defence ministers meet in Paris on strategy against Islamic State

Defence ministers from five European countries, Australia and the US met in Paris on Wednesday to develop their joint strategy against the Islamic State militant group.

The meeting would focus on balancing support for Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces with "tackling the infrastructure that underpins Daesh: its supply routes, its oil wells, its depots, its logistics, its command and control," British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said.

The Islamic State militant group, active in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Egypt, has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly attacks around the world and triggered the formation of US-led international alliance in both Iraq and Syria.

Russia is also carrying out a separate air campaign against Islamic State in Syria in support of al-Assad's regime.

Fallon said before the meeting that the militant group was on the defensive as it was pushed back up the Tigris River.

"We are determined to capitalize on these setbacks and begin to degrade Daesh so that it begins to lose revenue and lose the control that it's had," Fallon said, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter said previously that the meeting would be the first time that "major contributors" to the military campaign in Iraq and Syria would sit down for a face-to-face.

Both men said the campaign against the Islamic State was broader than just military efforts, saying that it also involved targeting finance, propaganda and the flow of foreign fighters.

Britain and France have both intensified airstrikes against Islamic State militants in recent months, and Fallon said the frequency of British strikes had gone from 30 per month in October to 30 per week at the start of January.

Last update: Thu, 21/01/2016 - 02:01
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