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Saturday, October 11, 2014

US Defense Secretary sees long-term fight against Islamic State

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reviews a guard of honour upon arrival at La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago, for a meeting with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in Santiago, on October 11, 2014. (AFP)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today that the embattled Syrian city of Kobani was a very difficult problem but added that air strikes had made some progress in driving back Islamic State militants.

Kurdish forces defending Kobani urged a US-led coalition to escalate air strikes on Islamic State fighters who tightened their grip on the Syrian town at the border with Turkey.

"We are doing what we can do through our air strikes to help drive back ISIL. In fact there has been some progress made in hat area," Hagel told a news conference in Santiago, the Chilean capital.

"It is a very difficult problem," Hagel said, referring to Kobani.

Hagel is on a six-day, three-nation trip to South America.

The US-led coalition escalated air strikes on Islamic State in and around Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, some four days ago.

Hagel underscored that the battle against the militants, who have seized swathes of Iraq and Syria, was a long-term fight.

"It is a long-term effort. This is difficult, it is complicated. It's going to require many factors. And we are working now (with) coalition partners," he said.

Asked about the situation in Iraq, Hagel said Iraqi security forces were in full control of Baghdad and continue to strengthen their positions there.

"We continue to help them with air strikes, with our assistance and advisors."

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Tags:  World  ISIS  US  Syria  Turkey  Airstrikes  





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