Daesh no longer holds significant territory in Iraq or Syria. Thanks to the courage and resolve of the Iraqi Security Forces, our partners in Syria and the unwavering support of the 74 member global coalition, in which we play a leading role, millions of people have been liberated from Daesh’s control in both Iraq and Syria.
Daesh is failing, but not yet beaten. It continues to pose a threat to Iraq from across the Syrian border and as an insurgent presence. It is also a global terrorist network. Daesh has the ability to plan and inspire terrorist attacks at home and abroad. Therefore, we will act to protect the UK and our allies, as long as necessary.
We must be prepared for Daesh to change its form by returning to its insurgent roots and making ever stronger efforts to lure more adherents to its ideology. So we will continue to tackle Daesh on simultaneous fronts, which includes preventing the return of foreign terrorist fighters to their country of origin, including the UK and Europe. We will continue to degrade Daesh’s poisonous propaganda, decrease its ability to generate revenue and deny it a safe haven online.
It is vital that we also address the underlying causes of Daesh’s rise. To truly defeat Daesh requires long-term work to address the grievances it feeds off.
That is why we will continue to work with and support the Government of Iraq in their efforts to deliver the reforms and reconciliation needed to rebuild public trust in the Iraqi state and unite all Iraqis against extremism, including by giving them the security, jobs and opportunities they deserve.
In Syria, Assad created the space for Daesh by releasing extremist prisoners and by causing untold suffering to his people. His brutality is evident in the siege and bombardment of almost 400,000 people in eastern Ghouta, which is a replication of the Aleppo siege this time last year. We remain committed to securing a political settlement that ends the conflict and brings about a transition away from Assad. To this end, we welcome the agreement in Riyadh of a new Syrian opposition negotiating team and the resumption of UN-mediated peace talks in Geneva this month.
The ranks of the global coalition continue to grow as more and more countries answer the call to action against Daesh. We will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to protect the British people and our allies.