The U.S. Department of Defense says no fewer than 2,000 fighters of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will die in the Syrian city of Raqqa in the ongoing efforts to liberate the city.
Brett McGurk, Special Envoy to President Donald Trump for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, said this on Friday, according to Pentagon.
Mr. McGurk said “we estimate there are about 2,000 ISIS fighters left in Raqqa, and they will most likely die in Raqqa,” he said.
The presidential envoy said that the mission against ISIS was “a campaign of annihilation”.
“We make sure that before we do a military operation, we actually surround the enemy so that foreign fighters in particular cannot escape.
“Every foreign fighter that made his way into Syria and Iraq, we want to make sure that they can never make their way out of Syria and Iraq,” he said.
Mr. McGurk said the gains against the terrorist organisation in recent months were due to some changes the coalition of countries fighting to defeat ISIS had made in the campaign.
“And we are going to continue to accelerate the pressure on ISIS until this entire organisation collapses and they cannot hold any physical territory from which they can threaten us,” he pledged.
The counter-ISIS aide regretted that the ISIS fighters on the ground were using the civilians “as their own shields” and “as their own hostages”.
“They are using snipers to kill civilians who are trying to escape.
“They’re trying to put suicide bombers in columns of displaced people as they try to get out – the similar tactics we’ve seen from this barbaric terrorist organisation in other cities.”
According to him, an estimated 200 billion dollars is needed to rebuild the war-torn Syria.
“By World Bank estimates, more than 200 billion dollars is needed to reconstruct Syria. It’s probably many multiples of that, and the international community is not going to come to the aid of Syria until there is a credible political horizon that can lead to a credible transition in Damascus.
“That is the reality. So we are working through this two-phase structure and are very committed to that roadmap that is outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 2254,” he said. (NAN)