The Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS reconvened in Marrakesh, Morocco, on Thursday, at the invitation of Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, and affirmed that defeating Daesh/ISIS in Iraq and Syria “remains the number one priority.”
In a joint communiqué, the Ministers said civilian-led efforts, including prevention, stabilization, countering terrorist financing, counter narratives and foreign terrorist fighter prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration are increasingly necessary to achieve the lasting defeat of Daesh/ISIS.
They also emphasized the need to enhance civilian-led counterterrorism capabilities in Iraq, and stressed the need to ensure sustainable long-term solutions for Daesh/ISIS fighters and family members in northeast Syria, including appropriate legal procedures to ensure those guilty of crimes are held accountable.
They wrote, “The Ministers welcomed the first Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS meeting to be convened in Africa and reaffirmed their shared determination to continue the fight against Daesh/ISIS through both military and civilian-led efforts contributing to the enduring defeat of the terrorist group. Together the Ministers emphasized the protection of civilians as a priority and affirmed that international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as well as relevant UN Security Council resolutions, must be upheld under all circumstances.
“The Ministers affirmed that ensuring the enduring defeat of Daesh/ISIS in Iraq and Syria remains the number one priority for the Defeat Daesh/ISIS Coalition. They stressed that despite significant setbacks suffered by Daesh/ISIS’ leadership over the recent past, the terrorist group continues to conduct attacks in Iraq and Syria and represents an ongoing threat, as shown by the large-scale attack against the Al-Sinaa detention facility in northeast Syria in January 2022.
“The Ministers reiterated the importance of allocating adequate resources to sustain Coalition and legitimate partner forces’ efforts. Civilian-led efforts, including prevention, stabilization, countering terrorist financing, counter narratives and foreign terrorist fighter prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration are increasingly necessary to achieve the lasting defeat of Daesh/ISIS. The Ministers emphasized the need to enhance civilian-led counterterrorism capabilities in Iraq. They also stressed the need to ensure sustainable long-term solutions for Daesh/ISIS fighters and family members in northeast Syria, including appropriate legal procedures to ensure those guilty of crimes are held accountable.
“In Syria, the Coalition stands with the Syrian people in support of a lasting political settlement in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. The Coalition continues to support inclusive local recovery and stabilization in areas liberated from Daesh/ISIS and reconciliation and reintegration efforts to foster conditions conducive to a Syria-wide political resolution to the conflict under the parameters of UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
The Ministers also recognized the need to meet the evolving threat of Daesh/ISIS in Africa and welcomed the first three Africa Focus Group meetings, which took place in Brussels, Rome, and Marrakesh. Under the auspices of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS, the Africa Focus Group will bolster the civilian-led counterterrorism capabilities of African members of the Defeat Daesh/ISIS Coalition by drawing upon the Coalition’s experiences in Iraq and Syria, and leveraging lessons learned, as appropriate, from the Defeat Daesh/ISIS campaign there to the African continent. This effort includes sharing assessments on the threat of Daesh/ISIS and other terrorist organizations on the African continent and coordinating and collaborating on the most effective and efficient methods to address these issues, including through proactive information sharing and border management, as well as stabilization, prevention and deradicalization projects. The Ministers stressed the need for the Africa Focus Group to foster synergies with other existing international, sub-regional and regional counterterrorism efforts and initiatives on the African continent.
“The Ministers stressed the importance of addressing underlying causes to insecurity in Africa, while reiterating that any lasting solution to halting the spread of Daesh/ISIS on the continent will rely primarily on national authorities, as well as sub-regional and regional efforts and initiatives that acknowledge and address the political and economic drivers of conflict. The Ministers noted with concern the proliferation of non-State actors, including separatist movements, and the deployment in Africa of private military companies that generate destabilization and further vulnerability of African states and that ultimately favors Daesh/ISIS and other terrorist and violent extremist organizations. The Ministers also recalled that the Defeat Daesh/ISIS Coalition will continue to be a civilian-driven effort by, with, and through our African members, in line with the principles of national ownership, and in accord with the specific needs of African member states. The Ministers saluted the entry of Benin into the Defeat Daesh/ISIS Coalition, bringing the total number of members up to eighty-five. The Coalition’s efforts constitute an integral part of the global counterterrorism structure.
“The Ministers confirmed the common view that ISIS-Khorasan is a growing threat to the South and Central Asian region. They strongly condemned the horrific ISIS-Khorasan attacks during Ramadan and the Eid holiday in Afghanistan aimed at civilians, especially minority groups. The Ministers are mindful of the need to remain resolute in countering the ISIS-Khorasan threat in Afghanistan, through Coalition working groups and individual member initiatives, in order to ensure the lasting defeat of Daesh/ISIS in South and Central Asia, and elsewhere in the globe.
“The Ministers emphasized the need to address the global Daesh/ISIS threat through holistic and comprehensive coordination of efforts, which are a hallmark of the Defeat Daesh/ISIS Coalition. Such efforts include the initiatives forwarded by the Defeat Daesh/ISIS Coalition Working Groups, including Communications, Counter ISIS Finance, Foreign Terrorist Fighters, and Stabilization.
“The Ministers also recognized the importance of finding sustainable solutions to the root causes of terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism and underlined the importance of ensuring the meaningful inclusion and participation of women, youth and other marginalized populations in these efforts – noting the important role of civil society, including women’s organizations and youth-led organizations in preventing and combating terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism.
“The Ministers also reiterated their global commitment to the survivors and families of victims of Daesh/ISIS crimes, including by holding the Daesh/ISIS leaders and perpetrators accountable. Recognizing that the atrocities carried out by Daesh/ISIS, including sexual and gender-based violence, constitute some of the most serious international crimes. The Ministers remain united in the determination to prevent future generations from enduring the suffering perpetrated by Daesh/ISIS. They therefore express their resolve to remain absolutely vigilant, in the framework of the Defeat Daesh/ISIS Coalition and beyond against the threat of terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations.”