Military chiefs from more than 20 countries — many already involved in the fight against the Islamic State and some who are considering joining the group — will meet in Washington early next week to discuss progress on airstrikes in Iraq and Syria as well as plans to create a ground force to consolidate gains against the group. However, it might already be too late for the residents of Kobani, the Syrian town on the verge of falling into the Islamic State’s hands.
The meeting will be hosted by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, from Oct. 13 to 14, according to a U.S. military official who declined to name the countries sending representatives because many nations participating in the bombing don’t want to publicly discuss their role. This is the first gathering of coalition military leaders, the official said. The coalition includes the United States, the U.K., France, Belgium, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
The gathering comes as the U.S.-led air campaign has carried out more than 350 strikes against the Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL — for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — since President Barack Obama first ordered military operations against the group Aug. 8. Obama’s emissaries, retired Marine Corps Gen. John Allen and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk, are in the region to drum up support for creating a ground force and are scheduled to return to Washington Friday. […]