ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24)– Reports emerged on Wednesday of Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the global coalition against the Islamic State (IS) and his accompanying delegation meeting with the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commanders and Kurdish-controlled Canton officials.
McGurk along with officials from the US Department of State arrived in Ayn Issa on Tuesday and also held talks with the Raqqa Civilian Assembly officials, the newly-formed Raqqa City Council.
The Kurdish US-backed allies are preparing for an assault on Raqqa, this time with the support of American-supplied weapons following a May 9 decision by the President Donald Trump and the Department of Defense to arm the Kurdish forces.
In an interview with Spanish publication El Pais while in Madrid on May 11, McGurk warned IS militants of their fate in Syria.
“If you are in ISIS and you are in Syria, you’re probably going to die in Syria,” he said. “Right now the odds are that you’re going to be killed in Syria. We want to make sure these people can never get out of Syria.”
The Syria visit follows McGurk’s visit south of Mosul on Monday and stopover in Erbil for meetings. The senior US official noted the Mosul fight is approaching its “final stages” and praised gains made against the Islamic State group in Iraq. His statements echoed his thoughts regarding the militants in Syria.
"It's really just a matter of time," McGurk told reporters while visiting the outskirts of the Iraqi city.
"I'm not going to put timelines on it, this has been a long and very difficult campaign, but ISIS is down to its last stronghold in the western part of the city," McGurk said. "Anyone left in there, they either have to surrender, or they're going to die."
Editing by Ava Homa