ISIS600 ISIS fighters killed in past three weeks: Kerry
Secretary of State John Kerry, in Paris for talks on the future of Syria, said that ISIS has lost 600 fighters and thousands of square kilometers of territory over the past three weeks. “In Syria, over the last three weeks alone, Daesh [ISIS] has lost 3,000 sq km (1,160 sq miles) and 600 fighters,” Kerry said.
Secretary of State John Kerry, in Paris for talks on the future of Syria, said that ISIS has lost 600 fighters and thousands of square kilometers of territory over the past three weeks.
“In Syria, over the last three weeks alone, Daesh [ISIS] has lost 3,000 sq km (1,160 sq miles) and 600 fighters,” Kerry said.
Greater London measures around 1,572 sq km.
International Business Times reports that Kerry added that the recent ceasefire in Syria has reduced violence in the war-torn state by 80-90 percent, which he described as a “very, very significant” development. The truce signed between the Syrian regime and rebels – but not by the Islamist ISIS and Nusra Front — began last month.
More than 270,000 people have been killed since the civil war broke out in March 2011.
The Syrian government and opposition are due to begin fresh peace talks in Geneva on Monday.
Kerry criticized Syrian foreign minister Walid Muallem for saying that removing President Bashar al Assad would cross a “red line.” In a televised news conference in Damascus, Muallem said: “We will not talk to anyone who talks about the position of the presidency. Bashar [al-Assad] is a red line; the property of the Syrian people.”
Kerry responded by saying his comments were “clearly trying to disrupt the [peace] process… and [that he was was] clearly trying to send a message of deterrence to others.”
Kerry continued: “But the fact is that stronger sponsors, Iran and Russia, have both adopted …. an approach which dictates that there must be a political transition and that we must move towards a presidential election at some point in time.”
French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that Muallem’s comments were “a provocation and a bad sign and doesn’t correspond to the spirit of the ceasefire.”
Russia has so far refused to back any agreement which would force him out of office.
Kerry is leading a U.S. drive formally to declare that ISIS’s atrocities against religious minorities, including Christians, Yezidis, and Kurds, as “genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.”