'All bases covered' in coalition bid to crush IS

"All bases are covered" in a US-led multinational coalition against the Islamic State, John Kerry said, as Washington rallies diplomatic and public support to smash the jihadists.

AFP| Last Updated: Sep 15, 2014, 01:59 AM IST

Washington: "All bases are covered" in a US-led multinational coalition against the Islamic State, John Kerry said, as Washington rallies diplomatic and public support to smash the jihadists.

The US Secretary of State told CBS's Face the Nation that there were allies willing to join the United States in air strikes on IS, which has overrun large swaths of northern Iraq and Syria in a brutal and lightning campaign that has seen beheadings and forced religious conversions.

"Some" had offered to put troops on the ground to defeat IS, Kerry said in the interview aired today, adding: "But we are not looking for that at this moment anyway."

Kerry was speaking in Cairo yesterday, before news of the latest IS beheading of a Western hostage, Briton David Haines, and ahead of a likely Congress vote this week on President Barack Obama's plan to train and equip Syrian rebels, a key plank in his strategy to destroy IS.

That strategy was outlined Wednesday by Obama in a primetime televised speech to the nation, in which he announced expanded US air strikes in Iraq against IS and said he envisaged new action against the radical group in neighbouring Syria.

Obama plans to train "moderate" Syrian rebels to take on IS and to reconstitute the Iraqi army, parts of which fled an IS blitzkrieg across northern and western Iraq.

Kerry, who has been touring the Middle East drumming up support for the US-led coalition, told CBS that allies in the Middle East and beyond were ready to help in the battle against IS, which has executed two American reporters in graphic videos which sparked revulsion.

"Every single aspect of the president's (Obama) strategy, and what is needed to be done in order to accomplish our goal, has been offered by one country or multiple countries, and all bases are covered," Kerry told CBS.

Opposition forces would do the fighting on the ground in Syria, augmented by US and allied air support, he said, adding that Washington would not coordinate air attacks on the militants with the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, but would ensure their forces do not come into conflict.

"We will certainly want to deconflict and make certain that they're (Syria) not about to do something that they might regret even more seriously," Kerry said.

"But we're not going to coordinate, it's not a cooperative effort."

Australia was among the latest to make a concrete commitment to the growing coalition, Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying that Canberra would deploy 600 troops to the United Arab Emirates, a regional Washington ally.