PARIS, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- As allied forces continue their push to Mosul, Iraq, other Western-backed troops are getting ready for a similar push toward the Islamic State's primary stronghold in Syria, the top U.S. defense official said Tuesday.
Iraqi troops and coalition troops have been pushing toward Mosul since Oct. 17. Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said allied forces are preparing for a similar offensive to overtake the city of Raqqa, the militant group's de facto capital in Syria.
Carter didn't give an exact day the push for Raqqa will begin, but he said it will start before the Mosul operation is over.
"Today, we as members of the coalition, resolve to follow through with that same sense of urgency and focus on enveloping and collapsing [Islamic State] control over Raqqa as well," Carter said in Paris on Tuesday, adding that the "groundwork" has already started with the aim of ousting insurgents controlling the north Syrian city.
#SecDef: At today's counter-ISIL defense ministerial we agreed to sustain the coalition and our commitments to win the battle and the peace— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) October 25, 2016
The forthcoming Raqqa offensive, as well as the Mosul push, is part of Operation Inherent Resolve -- the Pentagon's operational campaign to rid Iraq and Syria of Islamic State militants, which began two years ago.
"[Forces] are not only working here in Iraq, but also in Syria as we plan and then carry out support of operations there, including the envelopment of Raqqa, the would-be capital of the would-be caliphate," Carter said in the Iraqi town of Irbil on Monday.
The defense secretary made the remarks after visiting with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris on Tuesday, where he was on-hand for the opening of a new anti-terror defense ministerial at France's defense ministry.
Carter said the aim of Inherent Resolve is to cut out the "parent tumor" of the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria.
"We are on track to do just that," the Defense chief said.