Washington’s top counterterrorism official has said the United States must help local forces retake territory under the militants’ control.
In an interview published on Thursday in the Washington Post, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Near Eastern Affairs Joseph Dunford said that while the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) are “not going to get it right,” the U.S. is going to do everything it can to help the Iraqi government and security forces “secure these territories.”
“We’re going to continue to work with them, but we’re also going to make sure that there are appropriate safeguards in place to make it a priority that they don’t go into areas that they think are going to be used as an ISIS staging ground,” Dunford told the Post.
In May, the U,S., and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreed to cooperate in the campaign against the Islamic state in Syria and Iraq.
The U.N. Special Coordinator for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, said that the U and the UAE are “working together” to prevent the use of the city of Raqqa as a staging ground for ISIS fighters.
The Iraqi government is fighting on behalf of the Syrian government, which is trying to crush the rebellion.
The Iraqi government has said it is in possession of a large amount of weapons that could help in the fight against ISIS.
The Mosul offensive began in October and is scheduled to end in mid-January.
It has resulted in the recapture of large swaths of territory, including the city and surrounding areas.