Monday 22 January 2018

US military leader warns Baghdad that war isn't over

Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend. Photo: Getty Images
Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend. Photo: Getty Images

Josie Ensor

The Iraqi government must do something "significantly different" to stop Isil from reforming, a senior US commander has said, even as the jihadist group managed to recapture most of a village close to the newly liberated city of Mosul.

Lt Gen Stephen Townsend, commander of the US-led coalition to fight Isil, said that despite the historic victory in Iraq's second city the war was not over.

"If we're to keep Isil 2.0 from emerging, the Iraqi government is going to have to do something pretty significantly different," he told the BBC.

"They're going to have to reach out and reconcile with the Sunni population, and make them feel like their government in Baghdad represents them."

He said politicians should reach out to Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority to stop Isil from regrouping and gaining support.

Isil militants stormed through northern Iraq in the summer of 2014. They were welcomed at the time by many of Mosul's Sunni residents who had felt persecuted by the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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