Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (23 March) on the liberation of the last territory held by ISIS:
This was an important step. With the Liberation of Baghouz, the military retreat of ISIS has come to a point where it no longer holds any territory. This became possible only thanks to unprecedented international cooperation – within the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and among its brave partners on the ground. What also enabled this joint success was the close coordination of civilian and military efforts. Germany contributed significantly in this regard.
However, it is clear that ISIS continues to pose a serious threat, as it is taking its terrorist activities in Syria and Iraq underground. We will not underestimate this danger. That is why our joint engagement in the Global Coalition will continue. In Germany’s view, stabilising areas that have been liberated from ISIS remains crucial. We will be at the forefront of the Global Coalition’s efforts to achieve this.
That mission has not yet been accomplished, because the inhuman ideology of ISIS has not been fully vanquished. We must continue to take a firm stand against hatred and terrorism.
Germany’s engagement comprises all areas of activity of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS: military reconnaissance, air-to-air refuelling, maritime security, training Iraqi security forces, counter-finance, countering foreign terrorist fighters, counter messaging, and stabilising territory that has been liberated from ISIS. As the largest donor in Iraq and Syria, Germany chairs the Global Coalition’s Working Group on Stabilisation. As of the end of 2018, the German Government has made available a total of 100 million euros for Iraq (90 million euros) and northeast Syria (10 million euros). Germany is also helping to train Iraqi security forces, thereby enabling them to bring long-term security to their country.