A US Army Colonel in Iraq said that ISIS still “remains a serious threat to Iraq and the rest of the world” in an interview with Al Arabiya.
“Daesh is territorially defeated, but it’s resilient and it remains a serious threat to Iraq and the rest of the world,” said Colonel Wayne Marotto, spokesperson for the US-led coalition against ISIS’ Operation Inherent Resolve in an interview with Al Arabiya’s Rola al-Khatib.
“They haven’t given up. They're very tough, but the coalition and our security partners, the ISF, the SDF and the Peshmerga will continue to pursue Daesh and pursue any Daesh remnants that are in Iraq and Syria.”
Marotto also denied news reports stating that ISIS attacks on weapon convoys were targeting American forces, saying that it was in fact private Iraqi contractors at the receiving end of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
News that attacks were targeting US convoys is a “misconception,” Marotto added.
“These outlaw militia groups and outlaw gangs, they're attacking Iraqi contracted civilian logistic convoys driven by Iraqi civilians who are just trying to make a living,” he said.
“All they're doing is hurting the Iraqis because each attack against the government of Iraq, the KRG, the coalition, undermines the authority of Iraqi institutions, the rule of law and Iraqi national sovereignty,” he added.
Marotto described how the coalition was aiming to persuade the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi government to cooperate more closely and by doing so fill in gaps in defense exploited by ISIS.
“We believe that to achieve long term security and stability in Iraq, it's important that there be this greater liaison and cooperation between the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) and the GOI (Government of Iraq), especially along that KCL (Kurdistan Coordination Line),” he said.