IS moves with 'impunity' in Syria regime-held areas: coalition


Washington (AFP)

The international coalition against the Islamic State group on Wednesday accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of allowing the jihadists to move through territory he controls "with impunity."

"They seem to be moving with impunity through regime-held territory, showing that the regime is clearly either unwilling or unable to defeat Daesh within their borders," Major General Felix Gedney of the British army told journalists, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

Gedney indicated that the coalition does not plan to pursue IS fighters into regime-held areas, instead calling on Assad to do so.

"We will remain committed to defeating (IS) in the areas that are currently controlled by our partner forces in Syria, and we would call on the Syrian regime to clear (IS) from those areas that are currently under their control," said Gedney, a senior coalition officer.

IS overran large areas in Iraq and Syria, but concerted efforts by local ground forces backed by international strikes have seen the jihadists lose all the cities they once controlled in the two countries, and their self-proclaimed cross-border state crumble into nothing.