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Anti-ISIS coalition members hold talks in Riyadh
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Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Naif (R) meets with commander of the US Central Command General Lloyd Austin in Riyadh ahead of talks between anti-ISIS coalition members. (SPA)

Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Naif (R) meets with commander of the US Central Command Lloyd Austin in Riyadh ahead of talks between anti-ISIS coalition members. (SPA)

Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Senior military officials from 26 countries taking part in the US-led international coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday for a two-day meeting hosted by the Saudi Ministry of Defense, the state-owned Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The meeting brings together chiefs of staff from anti-ISIS coalition members for the fifth time, to discuss progress in the fight against the terrorist group that has captured large parts of Syria and Iraq, as well as the ongoing conflict in Syria, SPA said.

Asharq Al-Awsat has learned from well-informed sources that the meeting is expected to discuss military strategy, challenges to ongoing operations, and ways to boost and coordinate general counterterror efforts in the region.

Saudi Minister of Defense Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz met with the chiefs of staffs, among them the head of the US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM), Gen. Lloyd Austin, on Thursday.

The meeting comes at a tense time in the region, after ISIS released footage of the immolation of a captured Jordanian military pilot and the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya, events which prompted Jordan and Egypt to step up airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Libya, respectively.

The US coordinator for the anti-ISIS coalition, Gen. John Allen, told Jordan’s Petra News Agency earlier this month that Iraqi troops will begin a “major ground offensive” in the coming weeks against ISIS-held territories in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the coalition continued to target ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria, launching 16 airstrikes on the extremist group on Wednesday and Thursday, CENTCOM’s Combined Joint Task Force said on Thursday.

Two strikes in Syria struck near Kobani and Al-Hasakah, while the remaining strikes hit targets in western and northern Iraq.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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