"Our coalition is committed to their defeat, because we understand that defeating them in Iraq and Syria is an essential step in the defeat of ISIL around the world," he said.
The effort for Raqqa will be different than for Mosul, Townsend said, noting it will be done by local partnered forces, rather than a nation's armed forces. The operation will commence "soon," the general said, declining to elaborate further.
Troops Serve 'Selflessly' With 'Great Courage'
Townsend commended the bravery, service and sacrifice of all the forces involved in the push to defeat ISIL, highlighted the "heroic sacrifices of the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces and their martyrs and their families," and praised the partners of Operation Inherent Resolve.
"I want to remind the people of the United States and of all the nations of the coalition, their troops in this region are serving selflessly and with great courage in harm's way to ensure the defeat of ISIL," the general said.
"You should be proud of their efforts as you hope and pray for their success and safety," he said, adding, "I know that I am proud to stand in their ranks."
(Source: US Dept of Defense)