April 21, 2016 / 6:56 AM / 2 years ago

French defense minister says Islamic State can be eradicated

PARIS (Reuters) - The conditions necessary to eradicate Islamic State in Syria and Iraq are “in the process of coming together”, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Info radio on Thursday.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reacts during a news conference at the French Defence Ministry in Paris, France, January 20, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

“I note that Daesh (Islamic State) is retreating and that Daesh is retreating significantly,” Le Drian said.

“Since Daesh’s occupation of Syria and Iraq, since the attempt to attack Baghdad in June 2014, I think Daesh has lost between 30 and 40 percent of its territory.”

An international coalition is providing air support to Kurdish and Iraqi forces, which intend to liberate Mosul, in Iraq, and Raqqa, in Syria, by the end of the year, the minister added.

“We will need ... a lot of determination, but I think the conditions are in the process of coming together for eradicating Daesh,” he said. “For the first time, I have this slightly optimistic message.”

Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry and James Regan, edting by Larry King

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