The US led coalition forces believes it will defeat Islamic State on the battlefield within months, ending the terror groups ambition to establish a caliphate across Syria and Iraq. Malcom Turnbull emerged from meetings with US Defence Secretary Ash Carter at the Pentagon to reveal he was more optimistic about the prospect of the military crushing IS.

The good news in terms of the battle againest IS is that we are continuing to roll them back and we look forward to further gains over the course of the next six months or so, the Prime Minister of Australia said. There is the very real prospect of completing the defeat of IS in the battlefield, ending their so called caliphate of terror. Mr Turnbull added a note of caution, saying that the struggle against terrorism would continue for many years and the challenge of finding a political reconciliation in Syria remained formidable. 

Syrian president Bashar al Assad, whose government is backed by Russia and Iran has blamed the USA for a collapse of the cease fire in Syria. Mr Assad dismissed claims that Russian or Syrian planes were responsible for the bombing of an air convoy recently that killed a dozen people. He asserted that Syrian soldiers were intentionally targeted by US jets a week ago, rejecting the US insistence that it was a mistake. The airstrike which has been supported by the Royal Australian Air Force, killed about 60 Syrian troops in Deir el Zour.

Mr Turnbull said Australia was operating in Syria with unambiguous rules of engagement we are targeting IS, the terrorist group, he said. We are absolutely not targeting or intending to target units of the Syrian army. At the Pentagon, Mr Turnbull was assured by Mr Carter of the importance to the US of rotating it's marines through Darwin as part of the US - Australia force posture. Mr Turnbull also visited US House Of Representatives Speaker - Paul Ryan to discuss free trade and the threat of protectionism. Mr Ryan a Republican is supportive of the Trans - Pacific Partnership, unlike his party's Presidential Candidate Donald Trump. Mr Turnbull  said that the Trans Pacific Partnership was not just an economic issue but a statement of US engagement in the Asia - Pacific. Mr Ryan agreed.

Foreign Minister of Australia - Julie Bishop was also keeping herself busy hosting a meeting of the Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey, Korea, Australia Group. She also met former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Published by Julian Groom