International coalition to ensure Daesh does not expand south towards Jordan
Jordanian King Abdullah II reviews Kosovo's Security Force honor guard during a welcoming ceremony. (AFP/File)
As US-backed forces started an offensive against Daesh in Syria's Raqqa, the US-led coalition to fight the terror group would take all measures to prevent the group from retaking any areas in the south of Syria near Jordan, a US official said on Sunday.
Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter Daesh, who met with His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday, told reporters later in the day the alliance would ensure that Jordan remains safe and that no threat emerges at its northern borders.
A Royal Court statement said that the King and McGurk "discussed regional and international efforts in fighting terrorism, which jeopardises the world's security and stability. The meeting also covered the latest developments in Syria and Iraq".
Speaking at a press conference at the US embassy in Amman, the envoy stressed Jordan's "vital and valuable" role in the coalition, noting that the Kingdom is "a bedrock in the fight against ISIS", referring to Daesh with its English acronym.
Elaborating on the Raqqa operation, McGurk said the coalition is providing support to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that launched the offensive Sunday to retake Raqqa from Daesh, in parallel with the Iraqi forces' advance to liberate Mosul from the group.
He said the offensive would be implemented in phases, starting with the ongoing "isolation phase".
The coalition would provide coordinated air support to the SDF, he said, adding that there is no coordination with the Syrian regime or the Russians regarding the battle.
McGurk said that the offensive on Mosul is making progress and is even "ahead of schedule".
Noting that the coalition will focus on the elimination of Daesh leaders, he said the days of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the movement's leader, are numbered.
"It is a matter of time before Baghdadi and ISIS [Daesh] are eliminated," he said.
By Mohammad Ghazal