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The Next Steps Against ISIL


FILE - Iraqi security forces arrest suspected Islamic State militants in Jurf-al-Sakhar, 60 km (40 miles) from the capital Baghdad.

“The coalition is now firmly committed to helping the government and the people of Iraq as they prepare to finish the hard job of driving Da’esh completely out of their territory."

Since the Counter ISIL coalition came together less than two years ago, the terror group’s fortunes have taken turn for the worse. At the time, “the terrorists were rampaging through broad parts of both Syria and Iraq,” said Secretary of State John Kerry at the recently-held Counter-ISIL Ministerial Meeting. “They were overrunning and plundering key cities, murdering or enslaving thousands of people, and they were destroying ancient cultural sites and declaring themselves the leaders of all of Islam.”

That tide has turned. Since then, ISIL, also known as Da’esh, has been driven out of nearly 50 percent of the territory that it once controlled in Iraq and 20 percent of the territory in Syria. Its leadership has been degraded, its ability to attack militarily disrupted. Over the past year, they have recruited fewer foreign fighters, defections have increased, and the number of their fighters has diminished by at least one third.

“The coalition is now firmly committed to helping the government and the people of Iraq as they prepare to finish the hard job of driving Da’esh completely out of their territory so that they can go then forward and rebuild their cities and rebuild their lives and build Iraq into the inclusive and cohesive society that the people of Iraq want to see,” said Secretary of State Kerry.

Da’esh remains dangerous and they continue to inspire followers to perpetrate horrific violence and fan terror against innocent civilians in various places across the world.

“Nothing that they do is going to lead us to abandon our principles, our beliefs, because they don’t offer any alternative,” said Secretary of State Kerry.

“When the story of our era is written, the world is going to look back and say that Da’esh made zero difference beyond the cruel suffering that it caused and that every single person who committed murder or suicide at its direction did so shamefully and in vain.”

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