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United States calls on anti-Islamic State allies to do more

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has said countries need to offer more military resources to the fight against "Islamic State" militants. Carter also mooted NATO support and the use of alliance surveillance aircraft.

At a meeting of 11 defense ministers from countries involved in the anti-"Islamic State" (IS) coalition, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said there was "common recognition that we must all be prepared to do more."

The meeting was with the defense ministers of Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Norway and Spain.

The US-led alliance comprises 60 countries and has conducted some 12,000 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq since September 2014.

IS in retreat?

The talks had been planned well in advance of an attack on Tuesday that saw IS fighters overrun a Kurdish town in Syria.

IS had been in retreat since December, when the Iraqi army recaptured Ramadi, the largest city in the western region of the country. Last month, the Iraqi army retook the nearby region of Hit, pushing IS militants further north along the Euphrates valley.

Get Carter

"I am confident that today's meeting will produce additional military commitments," Carter said at the meeting, which took place at the US European Command headquarters in Stuttgart.

UK defense minister Michael Fallon (l), next to Ashton Carter (USA) iN Stuttgart

UK Defense Minister Michael Fallon (l), next to Carter in Stuttgart

"It's going to take more to win. We're going to win, but we all need to do more," Carter told reporters. "This fight is far from over and there are great risks."

But "allowing ISIL safe haven would carry even greater risk," he added, referring to IS by an alternate acronym. "To accelerate ISIL's lasting defeat, all must do more."

More special operations

Carter's call comes a week after President Barack Obama urged members of NATO to increase their defense spending to meet the alliance's target of 2 percent of spending.

Obama also announced he would send an additional 250 special operations forces to Syria, greatly expanding the US presence on the ground there to help draw in more Syrian fighters to combat IS.

Carter said he had proposed that the anti-IS coalition hold another meeting in Washington this summer.

jbh/sms (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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