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France

France meeting to focus on beating IS armed group

media REUTERS/Delmi Alvarez

The defence ministers of seven countries leading the battle against the Islamic State armed group in Iraq and Syria will meet in Paris today to work out way to make their efforts more effective.
 

Co-hosted by the French and US defence ministers, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Ash Carter, the meeting will be attended by their Australian, British, Dutch, German and Italian counterparts.

Russia, a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, will not be there..

US Secretary of State John Kerry is to discuss the situation in Syria with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Wednesday.

Russia began a campaign of air strikes in support of the regime in late September, targeting IS.

However, critics say more often than not the moderate opposition gets hit.

The French government said the ministers would "take stock" of coalition efforts since the campaign kicked off in 2014 and look at ways to intensify it.

The fight against IS has been slow to take off, but has begun to bear fruit, experts say.

The IS group, which swept through vast regions of Iraq and Syria in 2014 and 2015 and captured a string of cities, has seen recent setbacks across its self-proclaimed caliphate,

Recntly, it has lost key Iraqi city of Ramadi to US-supported local forces last month.

 

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