JB Andrews, Md.—While a clear plan and enough support will be needed to retake key ISIS-held cities such as Mosul, Iraq, the coalition needs to ensure it is ready for the “day after” Mosul is taken, UK Defense Minister Michael Fallon said Wednesday. Fallon, speaking after the first day of the Meeting of Defense Ministers of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL at JB Andrews, Md., said the biggest military focus of the coalition is retaking Mosul, which holds two million people and is incredibly “complex” to take. The coalition needs to provide enough support to the Iraqi military and police, through training and other logistical support, to stabilize Mosul and other cities liberated by the coalition to “give the population the confidence to return.” In the long run, “outsiders can help but can't substitute” local forces in stabilizing and reconstructing cities that are liberated, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a Wednesday press conference. To address this, countries such as the US, UK, and Australia are increasing their deployments of trainers to Iraq to fortify a holding and stabilizing force. ISIS is on the retreat in Iraq, but is shifting from a symmetric to an asymmetric force and will use more terrorist tactics, said Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of US Central Command, during the Wednesday press conference. The ministers’ meeting focused on making sure the “right stabilization plan is in place” to counter the group's changing tactics. “This is a very adaptive enemy,” Votel said.
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