- Associated Press - Thursday, April 21, 2016

PARIS (AP) - French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is voicing cautious optimism about the defeat of the Islamic State group, suggesting the possibility that it can be eradicated.

Le Drian said on Thursday on France-Info radio that the extremist organization has lost 30-40 percent of its territory in Syria and Iraq and “conditions are coming together to eradicate Daesh,” referring to the group by its Arabic acronym.

Le Drian says the goals of the U.S.-led coalition are that Mosul, in Iraq, and the northern Syrian town of Raqqa, which serves as the IS capital, “fall before the end of the year.”

He adds: “I say this with lots of caution, but for the first time, I have this rather optimistic message.”

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