No fewer than 7.7 million people have been liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS’) terrorist organisation, the Coalition of Countries working to Defeat ISIS has said.
Commanding General of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, said Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, the coalition would work to prevent ISIS regrouping anywhere in the world with its pervasive ideology.
“More than 4.5 million people were liberated from ISIS oppression in 2017. This represents a remarkable achievement by our partners leading to the liberation of a grand total of 7.7 million people over the three years of Operation Inherent Resolve.”
He said the coalition began in 2017 with 67 member organisations and concluded the year with 74.
According to him, the 70 nations and four organisations that comprise the coalition that’s dedicated to defeat of the ISIS reflected on progress made in 2017 and looked forward to 2018.
He said this indicated the international resolve to defeat ISIS is “stronger than ever, and we will continue our efforts to prevent the resurgence of this perverse ideology.
“Only through coalition and international efforts can the defeat of ISIS become permanent,” Funk said.
He said the defeat-ISIS campaign, which commenced in 2014, achieved its most significant progress in 2017 as key cities in Iraq and Syria, including Mosul, Hawijah, Qaim, Tal Afar, Raqqa and Tabqah, were systematically liberated.
“During 2017, over 61,500 square kilometers of territory was liberated from ISIS across Iraq and Syria, meaning more than 98 per cent of the land once claimed by the terrorist group has been returned to the people,” Funk said.
The Defeat-ISIS commander said the coalition looked forward to further success in 2018, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the global effort to defeat ISIS in 2017 would be remembered.
These included hundreds of brave Iraqis and Syrians who gave their lives for their nations, service members from coalition nations and the many innocent Iraqis and Syrians who have died as a result of ISIS’ terrorism.
“As 2018 begins, the Iraqi government looks forward to continuing to help its people rebuild after the nation’s complete liberation from ISIS.
“Syrian Democratic Forces remain engaged in the final phases of liberating the middle Euphrates River Valley,” he added.
Funk said the coalition’s efforts would be refocused on supporting the international community’s whole-of-government efforts to prevent the re-emergence of ideology-based terrorism and to assist partners in bolstering security that will enable stability in the region and around the world.
According to him, however, the future success of non-military activity will be decisive in the total defeat of ISIS