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US Defense Chief: Commandos Now Fighting IS in Syria, Iraq

  • Ken Bredemeier

U.S. defense chief Ash Carter said Thursday that the 200 American commandos now in Iraq and Syria are carrying out raids on Islamic State targets, "killing or capturing them wherever we find them."

"These forces have already established contact with new forces that share our goals, (opening) new lines of communication to local, motivated and capable fighters, and new targets for air strikes and strikes of all kinds," he told a training school for French officers in Paris.

Carter said that in Iraq, "we now have a specialized expeditionary targeting force in place that is preparing to work with the Iraqis to begin mounting sudden, long-range raids, going after ISIL's fighters and commanders, killing or capturing them wherever we find them, along with other key targets."

The Pentagon chief met Wednesday with his counterparts from France, Germany, Britain, Australia, Italy and the Netherlands to plot strategy in their fight against the militants.

He told the future French officers, "We all must have a common campaign plan that the entire coalition understands, and that our enemies cannot survive."

Carter said U.S.-led coalition forces have "big arrows" pointed at reclaiming Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in northern Syria, the self-proclaimed capital of the religious caliphate that Islamic State has declared.

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