Has Daesh been defeated?


In 2014, the Global Coalition Against Daesh helped to win back all the territories controlled by Daesh in Iraq and Syria. Thanks to the international community’s action, the terrorist organization’s ability to plan attacks, attract foreign fighters and attain financing has been significantly impacted.

Although the combined efforts of the members of the Global Coalition against Daesh have liberated 7.7 million Iraqis and Syrians after a time under the yoke of the terrorist group, Daesh still poses a serious threat to international security for the following reasons:

• The continued presence of active clandestine cells in Syria and Iraq;
• The persistence of terrorist groups affiliated to Daesh in Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, South Asia and South-East Asia;
• The spread of sophisticated propaganda calling for violence;
• The possibility of the group’s resurgence through its exploitation of political weaknesses in crisis regions.

What is Daesh?

Originally part of Al-Qaeda’s Iraqi branch, the Daesh terrorist organization spread throughout Iraq (starting in 2006) then Syria, taking advantage of the chaos caused by the Syrian regime’s repression efforts from 2011 onwards. It then sought to export its terror-based affront outside of the Levant (Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan and South-East Asia).

Daesh members use barbarian practices (including decapitations, slavery and mass killings) and grossly misuse the religion they profess.

In fact, most of Daesh’s victims are Muslims (both Shiite and Sunni), targeted by its policy of terror that does not spare women or children. Members of ethnic and religious minorities are systematically persecuted. In addition, the group has planned and organized several deadly attacks abroad, including those in Paris (November 2015), Brussels (March 2016) and London (March 2017).

Daesh has deliberately destroyed world heritage sites, as seen in its criminal actions at the ancient cities of Palmyra, Nimrud and Hatra, as well as the destruction of the Mosul Museum.

What has the Global Coalition against Daesh achieved?

Formed in September 2014, the Global Coalition Against Daesh brings together 79 States, along with NATO and the European Union. It has waged a decisive combat to defeat the terrorist organization at several levels.

At the military level

At the military level, the Global Coalition has provided crucial support to local forces operating in the field to reduce Daesh’s presence in Iraq and Syria since September 2014. Thanks to this support, Iraqi troops could declare that they had fully liberated all of their territory in December 2017. Operations were conducted in March 2019 that liberated the territories occupied by Daesh in the northeast Syria.

[(Tangible successes – key dates :

• January 2015: the city of Ayn al-Arab/Kobane (Syria) was won back
• July 2017: the city of Mosul (Iraq) was won back
• October 2017: Raqqa (Syria) was liberated
• December 2017: Iraqi authorities announced that they had liberated all territories controlled by Daesh
• 2018: Daesh controlled only 2% of the regions it controlled in 2014.
The organization remained holed up in several pockets of Syria.
• March 2019: fall of Daesh’s last stronghold in Baghuz, Syria.

At the financial level

Disrupting Daesh’s sources of financing is a priority for France and its international partners. France is helping to promote enhanced international support and action on this issue. It held the first No Money for Terror Conference in Paris in April 2018 and 70 States and 20 international organizations attended. States made pledges at this Conference, including to fight anonymous financial transactions and prevent the risks of misappropriation of financial products and services.

A second No Money for Terror Conference was held on 7 and 8 November 2019 in Melbourne, Australia.

France also instigated the United Nations Security Council’s adoption on 28 March 2019 of Resolution 2462 on combating terrorist financing, rounding out the existing international legal framework in the area.
It has also taken measures to fight against illegal networks and criminal trafficking (of oil, artworks and human beings) used by Daesh to finance its activities.

At the ideological level

Since Daesh was created, it has placed emphasis on its ability to spread violent propaganda. Given the importance of fighting the terrorist group’s virtual presence, the Global Coalition has worked relentlessly to identify, de-construct and remove jihadist content online.

France is particularly active in the fight against using the Internet for terrorist purposes. For this reason, it is in constant dialogue with Internet companies to improve the quick detection and permanent removal of terrorist content online.
Furthermore, President Macron issued the Christchurch Call on 15 May 2019 in Paris with New Zealand’s Prime Minster in the presence of several other Heads of State and Government and representatives of online Internet companies. This Call calls for elimination of terrorist and violent extremist content online and has Governments and Internet actors commit to prevent the upload of terrorist content and provide greater transparency in detection and removal of this content to reduce its going viral.

To find out more about France’s international action against terrorism

Updated: November 2019

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