In late March 2019, the terrorist group ISIS suffered its final territorial defeat in Syria. Though it lost the territory it once controlled and with it, its fraudulent caliphate, it is yet to be fully uprooted.
“Since [the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS] was created in 2014 . . . millions of civilians have been able to return to their homes. The movement of foreign ISIS fighters into Syria and Iraq has virtually ceased. And key ISIS leaders have been captured or killed. These achievements are significant and a reflection of what’s possible when we come together in common cause with a shared commitment,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Ministerial Meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. Nonetheless, “there is still more work to be done,” added Secretary Blinken.
The terrorist group and its affiliates are attempting to solidify their influence in Afghanistan, continuing to expand in the Sahel region in Africa, establishing affiliates in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique.
The Coalition is continuing its work to curb the terrorists’ ability to raise revenue, enhance its information sharing on terrorists, and fight against toxic ISIS propaganda.
Secretary Blinken said, “We must reaffirm our commitment, including to Operation Inherent Resolve, the complementary NATO mission in Iraq, and to civilian-led counterterrorism capacity building.”
“Second,” said Secretary Blinken, “we must renew coalition support for stabilization assistance across Iraq and Syria, to ensure that ISIS doesn’t have a resurgence in these countries.”
Third, the countries of origin must deal with the roughly 10,000 foreign fighters and their associated family members housed in detention centers and displacement camps. “This situation is simply untenable,” said Secretary Blinken. “The United States continues to urge countries of origin, including coalition partners to repatriate their citizens, rehabilitate and reintegrate their family members, and, where applicable, prosecute foreign fighters.”
Finally, the Coalition must effectively confront ISIS where it recently has focused its efforts outside of Iraq and Syria. “We have to get at this from every possible angle.”
The United States is grateful for the partnership and commitment to defeating ISIS everywhere in the world. Secretary Blinken said, “We’ve made great progress because we’ve been working together. So we hope . . . to keep up the fight against this terrorist organization until it is decisively defeated.”