New head of anti-Islamic State coalition vows to destroy caliphate
Stars and Stripes | .
published: August 22, 2016
Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend took authority Sunday of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, vowing to destroy the terrorist group’s so-called caliphate within a year but admitting the war was far from over.
Townsend, who leads the 18th Airborne Corps, took over from Army Lt. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland of the III Corps, who headed the coalition for nearly a year - a period marked by steady progress in the fight against the militants.
The transition came just days after Iraqi forces pushed Islamic State fighters out of territory near the key western Iraqi city of Ramadi. Preparations are under way to retake the county’s second-largest city, Mosul, which the militants seized two years ago.
Mosul is considered one of the most important battles in the fight against the militant group. Another equally important battle will be for Raqqa in Syria.
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