Macron sees Iraq's total 'liberation' from IS this month


Doha (AFP)

France's President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that Iraq would announce its total "liberation" from the grip of the Islamic State jihadist group by the end of December.

He made the prediction at a joint news conference with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani while on an official visit to Doha.

"There will be a liberation before the end of the year and we will, in the next months I hope, achieve a military victory in the Iraqi-Syrian zone," he told reporters.

He made his comments after visiting the huge US air base of Al-Udeid in Qatar where he met a small French contingent and spoke to US military command.

Al-Udeid, the largest US air base in the region, plays a key role in America's fight against the Islamic State group and it is from where the air campaign against jihadists has been directed.

IS jihadists have suffered a series of major military defeats in Syria and Iraq this year.

On Thursday, Russia's defence ministry said its air campaign to defeat IS in Syria had been "accomplished" and that the country was "completely liberated" from the group.