Coalition announces meeting in Washington to accelerate anti-ISIS efforts

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The 72-member global coalition to defeat ISIS will hold meetings next week in Washington, D.C., as Mosul is “on the verge of liberation by the Iraqi security forces” and stabilization efforts continue for those displaced by  the three-year conflict in Iraq and Syria.


The discussions between “senior leaders” will focus “on how to accelerate Coalition efforts to defeat ISIS in the remaining areas it holds in Iraq and Syria, and maximize pressure globally on its branches, affiliates, and networks,” according to a statement released by the office of Special Presidential Envoy to the Coalition Brett McGurk on Wednesday.


The three days will culminate with a meeting between the Coalition’s Small Group “to synthesize the previous days’ meetings and discuss priorities to build on the progress in Mosul and Raqqa to set ISIS on an irreversible and lasting path to defeat.”


Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that the liberation of the site of the symbolic al-Nuri Mosque in Old Mosul on June 29 was “the declaration of the end of the statelet of ISIS.”


Mosul in Iraq was where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his caliphate in 2014, Raqqa in Syria has been described as the group’s de facto capital.


“Through Coalition support, Mosul is on the verge of liberation by the Iraqi Security Forces, and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have taken the fight against ISIS directly to Raqqa,” read the statement from McGurk’s office.


This week the United States announced the SDF had breached the walls in Old Raqqa after precision Coalition air strikes.


ISIS still maintains pockets of resistance — notably in Hawija, Tal Afar, central provinces and western border areas. In addition to Raqqa in Syria, ISIS controls much territory in the eastern deserts and Deir ez-Zor.


The last meeting, hosted by the Secretary for Coalition foreign ministers, took place in Washington, D.C. on March 22. The last meeting at the political directors’ level took place in Berlin, Germany on November 17, 2016.


The Kurdistan Regional Government represented by Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to the Kurdish presidency, attended the March meeting along with the Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. It was the first time a KRG delegation had taken part in the meetings.


The Kurdistan Region has hosted 1.8 million refugees and IDPs displaced by the war with ISIS and sacrificed more than 1,700 Peshmerga fighters.

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