In a unified stance against the persistent threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, the United States and the European Union convened on Friday to address growing concerns and evaluate their collaborative efforts within the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
In a joint statement, the US and the EU voiced their deep concerns regarding the persistent threat posed by ISIS in Iraq, the alarming rise of ISIS-K (Islamic State – Khorasan Province, an affiliate of the Islamic State militant group active in South Asia and Central Asia) in Afghanistan, and its potential to expand its reach beyond these regions.
To confront these challenges head on, both the US and the EU have committed to enhancing their collaboration and intelligence-sharing mechanisms. This strengthened partnership aims to fortify their respective counter-terrorism strategies, reaffirming their unwavering dedication to neutralising the ongoing menace of ISIS and other extremist entities worldwide.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with the assistance of international partners, liberated Baghouz in the eastern province of Syria’s Deir ez-Zor after a tough six-week battle in 2019. This became a territorial last stand for ISIS, since when the extremist group has struggled to regain its footing.
The US-led Global Coalition and SDF fighters regularly conduct joint operations against ISIS cells in north and east Syria. Following the fall of Baghouz, thousands of ISIS fighters were apprehended and incarcerated, while their families were relocated to the al-Hol and Roj camps, situated in the areas held by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES).
Despite these significant setbacks, ISIS sleeper cells have recently been carrying out attacks targeting civilians as well as security forces in central, northeastern and eastern areas of the country.
Looking ahead, the US and the EU have announced their intention to convene the next iteration of the Counterterrorism Dialogue in 2024, with Washington DC serving as the host city. This forthcoming meeting will provide an opportunity for further collaboration and the development of comprehensive strategies aimed at curbing the influence and activities of ISIS on a global scale.