By Umar Farooq
Thirteen countries from an international coalition to defeat Daesh met Thursday to declare they have taken back more than 99 percent of the territory once held by the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis and his Canadian counterpart, Harjit Sajjan, who co-hosted the meeting in Ottawa, issued a joint statement after the meeting.
“We will continue to adapt and strengthen our global network to counter ISIS’s own network of foreign terrorist fighters, financing and propaganda,” the statement said, referring to Daesh by an alternative name.
The coalition was created in 2014 when the U.S. announced a group to defeat the Daesh terrorist organization. It has grown to include 79 countries.
The two officials said they reaffirmed their focus on defeating the group, and said they will leverage military, intelligence, diplomacy and economics to ensure their success.
Last year, officials from Iraq, which is a part of the coalition, declared Daesh’s military presence in the country had been neutralized following a three-year conflict.
Nevertheless, Iraqi forces continue to carry out frequent operations to decisively end the group’s lingering presence.
“We are confident that we will prevail,” the statement added. “We stand with people across the world who seek a better and safer future.”