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Intl. Coalition: Islamic State Controls Just 300 Kilometers in Syria


FILE - Smoke rises in Deir al-Zor, Syria Sept. 20, 2017.

The Islamic State terror group has lost control of all but around 300 square kilometers in Syria, anti-IS coalition officials told reporters Tuesday.

French Brigadier General Frederic Parisot, the director of civil-military operations for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said the group holds an area of about 30 kilometers x10 kilometers in eastern Deir el-Zour province, stretching from the town of Hajin to al-Bukamal.

Parisot said he did not know the number of Islamic State fighters in the area, but cautioned that the fighting could continue for "at least two or three months."

The French general added that coalition should stay in Iraq and Syria once Islamic State is completely defeated to ensure that the group does not regain the ability to hold terrain.

"I think it's an effort of all the coalition to make sure that after the major combat operations we stay enough to defeat Daesh on a permanent basis," Parisot said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

At its height, the terror group controlled nearly a third of Iraq and large areas of northern Syria.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

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