Permanent defeat of Islamic State yet to be achieved: Tillerson

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The close of military operations against the Islamic State (IS) does not mean the US-led coalition has achieved an enduring defeat of the jihadist group, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a meeting of anti-IS coalition members in Kuwait, Tillerson said the US had decided to provide an additional $200 million of aid to stabilize liberated territories in Syria

The US-led coalition was formed in September 2014, with 74 countries participating in the worldwide fight against the jihadist group, particularly in the Middle East where IS occupied large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

“The end of major combat operations does not mean we have achieved the enduring defeat of ISIS,” he said.

“ISIS remains a serious threat to the stability of the region, our homelands, and other parts of the globe.”

He mentioned that the hardline militants were trying to gain territory in countries where they remain active, stating “History must not be allowed to repeat itself elsewhere.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in December 2017 declared final victory over IS in the country after three years of fierce fighting.

In spite of the territorial defeat of the group in Iraq, IS remnants and sleeper cells continue to be a threat to the security of Iraq.

“In Iraq and Syria, ISIS is attempting to morph into an insurgency. In places like Afghanistan, the Philippines, Libya, West Africa, and others it is trying to carve out and secure safe havens,” Tillerson noted.

The US official stated that he was concerned over the recent Turkish military operation in Afrin in northwest Syria, where the Turkish forces along with Ankara-backed Syrian rebels are attacking US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters, despite saying he was keenly aware of Ankara’s “legitimate security concerns.”

Editing by Nadia Riva

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