John Kirby: Islamic State ‘Much More Contained In Iraq and Syria,’ We’re Bringing ‘Peace and Stability’ to ‘Very Violent’ Syria

State Department Spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby argued that ISIS is “much more contained in Iraq and Syria” “we’re bringing peace and stability to Syria” even though “it’s still a very violent, very dangerous, very troubled place” on Wednesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

Kirby stated, “what I said was, in the headline, we’re bringing peace and stability to Syria. And if you looked at the whole blog post you can see that I made very clear in the first line that we know it’s still a very violent, very dangerous, very troubled place. I didn’t say we brought peace to Syria. I said that we are working to bring peace to Syria. And if you just look at the last three months, three months ago, the international community was not aligned in terms of a future for Syria on a political track. Now they are. Three months ago, the opposition groups had not been unified around a set of common negotiating principles to take forward to the Assad regime. Now they are. In fact, they’re going to start having meetings as early as the end of January. Three months ago, there wasn’t a UN Security Council resolution. there wasn’t even UN Security Council consensus on a political future for Syria. Now there is. There’s a security council resolution that puts under UN auspices a chance to implement and then monitor a ceasefire in Syria. So we believe that it’s a truthful claim. We are working hard to bring peace to Syria.”

Kirby also said that while “isil remains a very dangerous, determined, very, lethal enemy.” “I’ve been tracking this particular enemy now for more than a year, this is not the same group that they were. they’re not moving about as freely as they were.”

He added that ISIS is “much more contained in Iraq and Syria. 25% to 30% of their territory that they once had now has been taken away from them. They are — they have now pretty much lost Ramadi. There’s still some pockets in Ramadi that need to be cleared out, but they’ve pretty much lost that, after having taking it in July. The Iraqi Security Forces are more competent, more capable now than they have been, certainly in the last year and a half. So this is not the same group. Much of their leadership has been destroyed. You’ve seen the Pentagon talked about getting rid of ten of their leaders just this month. So, being a leader of that particular group, that’s a career choice we wouldn’t recommend, because it’s not very long-lived. And they are much more under pressure financially. We’re going after their oil revenues and other ways they get their financing. So, this is not the same group at all.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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