Major progress has been made in the fight against the ISIS terrorist organisation – the so‑called Islamic State – in Syria and Iraq. On 23 March 2019, the last of the territory under ISIS control was liberated. Nevertheless, ISIS remains active underground and has not yet been defeated. This is why the members of the Global Coalition against Daesh remain committed to enduring defeat of the organisation. One important focus is post-ISIS stabilisation. The aim is to enable people to return home to, and resume everyday life in, areas that were formerly held by ISIS.
Germany is assisting these efforts. Support for stabilisation is one component of the integrated approach pursued by Germany in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Why the focus on stabilisation?
Now that ISIS has been driven out of the territory it held in Iraq and Syria, it is crucial to provide basic services for the people and thereby improve their living conditions. This is the only way to prevent ISIS from regaining strength and to stop a resurgence of violence and extremism. People displaced by ISIS can only return if basic infrastructure is repaired and mines and other munitions are removed.
How to advance stabilisation?
Germany co‑chairs the Working Group on Stabilisation of the Global Coalition against Daesh together with the United Arab Emirates and the United States, and coordinates its assistance closely with its international partners. On 17 April 2019, the working group held its first-ever meeting in Baghdad.
In Iraq, stabilisation includes helping the Government of Iraq prepare the way for reconstruction in the liberated territories. This includes restoring power grids and repairing water and sewage pipes, as well as rehabilitating roads and bridges. Other areas of activity are promoting employment, building up the local government, and financing reconciliation projects. So far, 4.2 million Iraqis have been able to return home. However, some 1.7 million are still displaced. Germany will therefore contribute an additional 40 million euros in 2019 to the United Nations Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), so that current funding gaps can be closed.
In Syria, the German Government supports post‑ISIS stabilisation in the provinces of Raqqa and Deir ez Zor. Above all, the aim is to swiftly restore basic services for people living in the area, i.e. to provide access to water, food and health care.