Gains against Daesh

U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Secretary of State John Kerry address reporters before the Counter-ISIL Coalition meeting in London. (State Dept.)

At a meeting of Counter-ISIL Coalition members in London on January 22, Secretary of State John Kerry said international efforts at degrading Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant continue to move forward.

“Almost 2,000 strikes in Syria and Iraq have had a high degree of precision and accuracy, and they have definitively put Daesh on the defensive where those strikes take place,” Kerry said, after meeting with U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Kerry added that hundreds of Daesh vehicles have been destroyed and 50 percent of its top command eliminated.

Kerry said the terrorist group is more than a Syrian or Iraqi problem.

“Daesh is a global problem, and it demands a coordinated, comprehensive and enduring global response.”

The 60-member international coalition — along with five Arab partners involved in airstrikes — is helping to halt Daesh advances. The coalition met in September in Brussels and outlined a multifaceted approach to destroying the terrorist group.

“Whether it’s sheltering refugees, training, advising Iraqi troops on the front lines, or speaking out against Daesh’s hateful, false ideology, we appreciate the contribution of every single member, each of whom has chosen one line of effort or another,” Kerry said.

Secretary Kerry participates in a Counter-ISIL Coalition strategy session in London. (State Dept.)

Kerry echoed the message of President Obama’s January 20 State of the Union address and said the effort against Daesh will take time and will require focus.

“The fact is that, while the trajectory of this fight, as President Obama and other leaders have said from the beginning, will be neither short nor easy — that has been a consistent statement — today we are seeing important gains along all the lines of effort,” Kerry said.

Kerry commended the United Nations for its recent announcement of a stabilization fund to help areas freed from Daesh control and said terror victims need ongoing assistance.

“Those who’ve suffered unimaginable horrors under Daesh, especially women and girls, will continue to need the kind of humanitarian relief that countries around the world have generously been providing since this crisis began,” Kerry said.