Rome, A Global Coalition to Defeat IS (Islamic State) has said that although nearly eight million people have been freed from the terror group’s control in Iraq and Syria, it still remains a threat.
“IS no longer controls territory and nearly eight million people have been freed from its control in Iraq and Syria, but the threat remains,” said a joint communique issued on Monday after a meeting of the Ministers of the Coalition concluded in Rome.
“The resumption in IS activities and its ability to rebuild its networks and capabilities to target security forces and civilians in areas in Iraq and Syria where the Coalition is not active, requires strong vigilance and coordinated action,” it said.
This was the first time the Coalition members came face-to-face after two years.
The Coalition acknowledged that it also needed “to address the drivers that make communities vulnerable to recruitment by IS and related violent ideological groups, as well as to provide support to liberated areas to safeguard our collective security interests”.
“The Ministers remain firmly united in our outrage at atrocities perpetrated by IS and in our determination to eliminate this global threat, and stand alongside survivors and families of victims of ISIS crimes working for accountability,” the joint communique added.
The meeting was co-chaired by Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
While addressing the meeting, the Italian Minister said the IS “was defeated in its territorial dimension, but it hasn’t been uprooted”.
This is why “Italy, with over 800 units between Iraq and Kuwait, will continu to keep its presence in support of local institutions so as to enable the country to tackle this threat autonomously,” he added.
On his part, Blinken said “joint efforts by, with, and through our local partners have been a critical element in achieving IS’s territorial defeat in Iraq and in Syria”, but “there is still more work to be done”.
The Ministers also reaffirmed their intent to hold the next ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition by June 2022 and to hold a Small Group Political Directors Meeting in Brussels in the fall of 2021.