French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that the Islamic State group faced complete military defeat in Iraq and Syria within months but warned the battle against jihadism would go on.
He was speaking after Syrian troops and allied militiamen broke into the IS-held town of Albu Kamal on the Iraqi border, edging closer to ousting the militants from their last urban stronghold in the country following their loss of Deir Ezzor, Mayadeen and their de facto capital Raqa.
"We have won in Raqa and the coming weeks and months, I am quite sure, will allow us to achieve complete military victory in the Iraq-Syria theatre," Macron told French naval personnel deployed in Abu Dhabi for the war against IS.
"But that won't be the end of this struggle. Long-term stabilisation and combating terrorist groups will be indispensable complements to the inclusive and pluralist political solution we want to see emerge in the region."
Macron was in the United Arab Emirates capital for the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi -- the first museum to carry the famed brand outside France -- which he hailed as a "bridge between civilisations" and religions.