The horrific ISIL attacks in Paris are the most recent examples of the group’s brutality, which has been so evident over the past two years in Iraq and Syria.
At a press conference in Turkey after a summit of the G-20 countries, President Barack Obama described ISIL as “the face of evil,” and urged world leaders to commit the resources that the fight demands to “degrade and ultimately defeat this barbaric terrorist organization.”
In retaliation for the attacks in Paris, French warplanes, with the help of the U.S. military in targeting sites, conducted a series of bombing raids on ISIL facilities in and around the group’s headquarters in Raqqa.
And, President Obama pointed out, recent events in the region have shown that as murderous as ISIL is, it is not invincible:
“We’re taking out ISIL leaders, commanders, their killers. We’ve seen that when we have an effective partner on the ground, ISIL can and is pushed back, so local forces in Iraq, backed by coalition airpower, recently liberated Sinjar. Iraqi forces are fighting to take back Ramadi. In Syria, ISIL has been pushed back from much of the border region with Turkey…Both in Iraq and Syria, ISIL controls less territory than it did before.”
But as the Paris attacks demonstrated, it will not be enough to defeat ISIL in Syria and Iraq alone, said President Obama. The G-20 nations, therefore, committed to strengthening border controls, sharing more information, and stepping up efforts to prevent the flow of foreign fighters in and out of Syria and Iraq.
In addition, the G-20 nations agreed that more has to be done on a humanitarian level both individually and collectively to address the agony of the Syrian people. While the United States, with a contribution of $4.5 billion dollars in aid so far, is the largest humanitarian donor, the United Nations’ appeal for Syria still has less than half the needed funds.
Finally, President Obama noted that recently in Vienna modest progress was made on the diplomatic front in working toward a political solution to end the war in Syria, giving hope that the Syrian people and the world can unite against ISIL.
The road ahead is “very very difficult,” said Mr. Obama, but “the United States, in partnership with our coalition, is going to remain relentless on all fronts: military, humanitarian and diplomatic. We have the right strategy, and we’ll see it through.”