Anti-IS coalition to hold 'urgent' Washington meeting as US pulls troops from Syria

Anti-IS coalition to hold 'urgent' Washington meeting as US pulls troops from Syria
2 min read
28 October, 2019
Ministers from more than 30 states fighting IS will meet in Washington amid concern about US strategy in the Middle East.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called for the coalition to meet urgently [Getty]
More than 30 nations fighting the Islamic State group will gather in Washington on next month in a French-initiated meeting as the United States pulls troops from Syria, a US official said Monday.

The 14 November meeting will see ministers from nations in the coalition "look at the next steps to increase the coalition presence in northeast Syria", the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called for an urgent meeting of the coalition after President Donald Trump told Turkey earlier this month that he withdrew some 1,000 troops from northeast Syria.

The US official cast the meeting as a way to seek more support from allies - a key priority for Trump, who often accuses US partners of being free-loaders.

"This is something President Trump has been working on, both to get troops on the ground, airplanes in the air and money flowing to stabilisation in that area from our partners and allies who are in the coalition," the official said.

The official noted pointedly that no European allies have stepped forward to send in troops to replace departing US forces.

Read more: Has this man replaced Baghdadi as IS leader?

The meeting announcement came after Trump on Sunday announced the killing of Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an attack in Syria led by US Special Forces.

Trump's withdrawal has nonetheless alarmed European allies fearful of a resurgence of the intensely violent group, especially as Kurdish fighters abandoned by the United States had been guarding IS prisoners.

Washinton has said that more than 100 IS prisoners have escaped in the chaos as American troops withdrew and Turkey launched an incursion against the Kurdish fighters, whom Ankara links to separatists at home.

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