US says 10,000 ISIS fighters killed in nine-month air campaign

US deputy secretary of state says extremist group remains resilient and capable of taking the initiative.

By REUTERS
June 3, 2015 10:18
isis airstrike

A plume of smoke rises above a building during an air strike against Islamic State fighters in Tikrit, Iraq March 27, 2015.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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PARIS - More than 10,000 Islamic State fighters have been killed since the international coalition started its campaign against the extremist group nine months ago in Iraq and Syria, US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.

Speaking after the coalition met in Paris, he said there had been a great deal of progress in the fight against Islamic State but that the group remained resilient and capable of taking the initiative.

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"We have seen a lot of losses within Daesh since the start of this campaign, more than 10,000," Blinken said on France Inter radio, using a mildly derogatory term for Islamic State. "It will end up having an impact."

On Tuesday, Western and Arab states carrying out air strikes on Islamic State fighters backed Iraq's plan for retaking territory after being accused by the Iraqi premier of not doing enough to help Baghdad push back the insurgents.

"At the start of this campaign (we) said it would take time," he said. "We have conceived a three-year plan and we're nine months into it."

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