Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS met in Rome on Monday, June 28, 2021. Participants included US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. They issued a joint statement that reiterated their commitment to fight ISIS and support “partner forces,” expressed an increased commitment to fighting ISIS on the African continent, and repeated the commitment to a solution to the Syrian crisis through the stalled and troubled UNSCR 2254 peace talks — despite the fact that these peace talks do not include meaningful representation from North and East Syria, the areas that were actually liberated from ISIS. 

Prior to the meeting, General Mazloum Abdi, Commander of the SDF, had tweeted the following: “The anti-ISIS Coalition will meet tomorrow to discuss progress towards the enduring defeat of ISIS. To ensure sustainable victory, we must not forget that tens of thousands of women, children, and ISIS fighters remain in SDF-NES IDP camps and detention centers.”

The statement addressed these tens of thousands of detainees, stating, “the Ministers committed to pursuing existing effective justice and accountability mechanisms in close coordination with the countries of origin… The Ministers further recognized that the situation for Daesh/ISIS detainees and family members in northeast Syria is of grave concern and recognized the importance of finding a comprehensive and long-term solution to this serious issue.”

Although the ministers’ statement did not mention by name the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the ground forces who did the fighting and lost 11,000 fighters in the heroic battle to liberate North and East Syria from ISIS, it did mention the need to support the efforts of “legitimate partner forces” and commit resources to stabilization efforts in areas that have been liberated from ISIS.

Countering ISIS during this period will require “strong vigilance and coordinated action,” read the statement. “This includes allocating adequate resources to sustain Coalition and legitimate partner forces’ efforts against Daesh/ISIS, and significant stabilization support, both to address the drivers that make communities vulnerable to recruitment by Daesh/ISIS and related violent ideological groups, as well as to provide support to liberated areas to safeguard our collective security interests.”

The statement by the ministers mentioned the UNSCR peace talks, stating, “ The Coalition continues to support inclusive local recovery and stabilization in areas liberated from Daesh/ISIS and reconciliation and reintegration efforts to foster conditions conducive to a Syria-wide political resolution to the conflict under the parameters of UN Security Council Resolution 2254.”

These words come as Geir Pedersen, the UN Special Envoy for Syria tasked with facilitating the UNSCR 2254 talks, called for a new international dialogue — implicitly stating that the UNSCR 2254 talks were not working. The international community was in “need” of a “new constructive international dialogue on Syria,” Pedersen reportedly said.

The statement also mentions the “2021 Pledge Drive for Stabilization,” calling the pledge drive funding “an important means to help sustain the recovery of areas liberated from Daesh/ISIS and prevent its resurgence.” This pledge drive was first announced in a communique on March 30, 2021, following a small group meeting of the global coalition.