Middle East

IS conflict: US allies agree on 'final push'

Iraqi soldiers gather to go battle against Islamic State militants south of Mosul, Iraq on 15 June Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Iraqi forces launched an operation to retake Mosul in March

The US and its allies in the coalition against so-called Islamic State (IS) have agreed on a strategy to defeat the group, US Defence Secretary Ash Carter has said.

They will corner the militants in their bastions of Raqqa, in Syria, and Mosul, in Iraq, he added.

But he warned this would not eliminate their violent ideology or ability to spring attacks elsewhere.

Countries have also discussed plans to stabilise areas after IS is defeated.

The jihadist group has lost significant parts of its territory but still controls large swathes of both Syria and Iraq.

After retaking Falluja, Iraqi forces are preparing to force IS out of Mosul, the country's second largest city and the group's stronghold in Iraq.

In Washington, representatives from more than 30 countries met to discuss plans to inflict what Mr Carter called a "lasting defeat" on IS (also known as Isil).

"Let me be clear: they culminate in the collapse of Isil's control over the cities of Mosul and Raqqa," Mr Carter said.

The meeting also focused on stabilisation plans for areas under IS control when they were eventually liberated.

"We must ensure that our partners on the ground have what they need to win the fight and then hold, rebuild, and govern their territory," the US defence secretary added.

Meanwhile, Britain will double to 500 its deployment of troops to train Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting IS, UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said.

Donor fatigue, by Lyse Doucet, BBC News, Baghdad

Image copyright AP

If this is the year of the big battle to retake Mosul, its consequence could be what United Nations envoy Jan Kubis describes as "the biggest, most sensitive humanitarian crisis in the world".

As Iraqi forces inch forward, more and more families are fleeing the other way - escaping with their lives from the clutches of IS, but entering another kind of hell.

The world's aid community is already struggling to help care for almost 3.4 million people left homeless by earlier battles. This year, the UN's annual appeal is less than 40% funded.

"There's donor fatigue," says a frustrated UN official in Baghdad. "It's almost as if the world wants the Iraqi problem to go away, and they're embarrassed it's still here."

Read Lyse's full blog

Also in Washington, US Secretary of State John Kerry hosted a separate donor conference to help Iraq against IS.

It raised $2.1bn (£1.6bn) to fund humanitarian aid and reconstruction and development assistance.

"If we do not succeed in Iraq, none of our countries will be safer," Mr Kerry said.