Coalition military chiefs fighting IS militants to meet in US next week: Officials

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Military chiefs from 21 countries in the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq will gather next week in Washington to discuss the war effort, two defence officials said Friday.

The US military's top ranking officer, General Martin Dempsey, accompanied by the head of US Central Command, General Lloyd Austin, "will convene a meeting of more than 20 foreign chiefs of defence next week in Washington DC to discuss the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against ISIL," said a defence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The news came amid warnings from the US of possible reprisal attacks over its war against IS.

The extraordinary meeting will be held on Tuesday at Andrews Air Force base outside the US capital.

It will include all the European partners and all five Arab states taking an active role in the American-led air strikes against the IS group - Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, officials told AFP.

Australia was also expected to send its military chief, officials said.

The meeting will occur against the backdrop of sobering news from the front, with IS extremists threatening to seize control of the Syrian border town of Kobane as well as western towns in Iraq, despite a sustained campaign of air raids by US and coalition aircraft.

The air campaign in Iraq has entered its third month in Iraq and its third week in Syria.

Separately, on Friday, the US warned of possible attacks against Western targets in reprisal for its military campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

The US State Department regularly updates its notice on worldwide risks, but the last update had been in April - before the militants took over a swath of the two countries, and before the creation of a US-Arab-European coalition to fight them.

"Authorities believe there is an increased likelihood of reprisal attacks against US, Western and coalition partner interests throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Asia," the notice said.

The State Department pointed out that - in response to US air strikes against militant positions and equipment in Syria and Iraq - IS has "called on supporters to attack foreigners wherever they are."

The United States also warned its citizens that "kidnappings and hostage events involving US citizens have become increasingly prevalent," after the kidnapping and murder of two US journalists and two British aid workers by IS.

The US and other Western countries also worry about the potential for attacks by people who have trained with militants in Syria and Iraq, the State Department noted, in particular against US and Western interests in Europe.

"Credible information indicates terrorist groups also seek to continue attacks against US interests in the Middle East and North Africa," it said.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.