Daesh 'Very Close' To Being 'Tactically Defeated', Says British General

A British General says Daesh is "very close" to being "tactically defeated" but warns the UK must remain "committed" & learn from previous...

A British General says Daesh is "very close" to being "tactically defeated" but warns the UK must remain "committed" and learn from previous mistakes.

Britain has been targeting Islamic State (IS), also known as 'Daesh', since 2014 as part of Operation Shader.

The Operation began as a humanitarian aid mission but has grown into a complicated mission to try and defeat IS.

Major General Felix Gedney has just completed a year as Deputy Commander of the US-led coalition, Operation Inherent Resolve, which targets IS in Iraq and Syria.

US President Donald Trump has previously said Daesh is "essentially defeated", Major General Gedney disagreed but admitted they are "very close" to being "tactically defeated".

Major General Gedney told Forces News: "I'd certainly say they (Daesh) are very close to being tactically defeated, as a ground holding force.

"Over the past years, we've seen remarkable success by our partner forces, supported by the coalition in seizing terrain from ISIS. 

"And that stage of the campaign is nearly over but we then have to continue to do the security and the stabilization effort that must follow."

When asked by Forces News if the current quiet period in the area will eventually "fall apart", Major General Gedney said:  "We must learn from previous campaigns - none of this is unexpected and we are developing Iraqi security forces and local partner forces in Syria, in order to be able to deal with the level of threat that will remain.

"We know that Daesh will continue to be a threat and we know they will attempt to conduct an insurgency - we have to ensure there are local forces that can deal with that."

When asked if members of Daesh in Iraq and Syria had simply been "misplaced", Major General Gedney said "most" had been "dealt with" and "killed or captured on the battlefield". 

RAF Tornado GR4's on return to RAF Akrotiri Cyprus
Tornado GR4s have been used by the RAF to conduct airstrikes on Daesh.

However he admitted there may have been a "few" that have moved but "not many". 

Major General Gedney said it remains a "long-term fight" against Daesh.

Aircrew based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus have been flying daily missions over Iraq and Syria as part of Operation Shader - on Wednesday, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) revealed the RAF had completed three successful airstrikes on IS targets between 5-9 September.

Video: MoD releases footage of latest strikes against IS.

Major General Gedney said the Royal Air Force have been "doing a remarkable job" supporting the Operation in Iraq and Syria, admitting their support is needed.

"We need to continue that (air operations), certainly at the moment - we are continuing to support the liberation battles and then we'll need to make sure that we continue to operate in order to provide security to the troops on the ground and to ensure we don't lose the gains we've made," Major General Gedney explained. 

Major General Gedney explained the battle against Daesh will "go on for some time", however he could not offer a time frame for how long the UK will be expected to provide support.

He said the UK "needs to remain committed", although he does predict a "reduction in the numbers of capabilities that we require over the coming years".