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Blinken will travel to Rabat to strengthen the international fight against Daesh

The secretary of state is expected to focus the meeting on official discussions on regional peace and stability interests
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AP/EVAN VUCCI  -   Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Morocco and the United States continue to strengthen their relations in all sectors. This continues to be demonstrated by both states after the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, confirmed on his Twitter account that he will travel to Rabat next May to chair the meeting of the Global Coalition against Daesh.

This coalition, founded in 2014 and made up of more than 80 countries and international organisations, aims to put an end to the Daesh terrorist group through military operations, plans to combat terrorist financing, control and monitoring of foreign terrorist fighters, counter-propaganda and help in the reconstruction and stabilisation of liberated areas. 

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Blinken noted that Daesh "continues to pose a threat" as it continues to attract "certain sectors of the population" so the coalition should include "civilian initiatives to de-radicalise and stabilise liberated areas, providing social and economic conditions and opportunities for the local population to make them less vulnerable".

During the Coalition's annual meeting last year, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita discussed with other countries ways to maintain pressure on Daesh terrorists in Iraq, Syria and parts of Africa.

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AFP/DELIL SOULEIMAN  -  US soldier standing next to an armoured military vehicle in Al-Hasakah province, northeastern Syria.
Fighting Daesh 

Despite the elimination of the self-proclaimed caliphate by Daesh in Syria or Iraq, the terrorist organisation has not yet been completely eradicated, which shows that it can re-emerge. In this vein, last February, the Global Coalition issued a communiqué stating that the organisation "remains resolutely committed to achieving the lasting defeat of ISIS. Recent events in Syria underscore both the success we continue to have in degrading the leadership of Daesh/ISIS and the ongoing threat that the terrorist group poses in the region and beyond". However, despite recent successes, these are still not enough for its total disappearance and do not mean the cessation of its attacks.

Thus, last January Daesh launched a surprise attack on the Al-Sina'a prison in the Syrian city of Al-Hasakah, located in the far northwest of Syria. The offensive was aimed at freeing 3,500 terrorists imprisoned in the Syrian prison, which is under the control of the Kurdish-Arab alliance of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). 

This attack continued for a week until the SDF finally managed to regain control of the prison. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a total of 159 people were killed, including both Daesh terrorists and members of the SDF. 

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The operation was also part of a three-pronged offensive. In addition to Al-Sina'a prison, the jihadists attacked a military post in the Iraqi governorate of Diyala, executing 11 members of the SDF. With these new attacks, the terrorist organisation tried to show that it was now also able to operate in a joint and organised manner and not as lone wolves. Despite these operations, Daesh is not strong enough to take the most populated areas under its control, as it did during the Syrian civil war.

With the fall of al-Baghuz, the last Daesh stronghold in Syria, Washington and Moscow assumed that Daesh was largely over. The US-backed SDF played a prominent role in this fall. However, despite the fact that small groups were still active in desert areas, the US, under President Donald Trump, abandoned its affiliates, allowing Turkey to invade areas settled by the Kurdish population in areas such as the Afrin canton. 

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AFP PHOTO/AGENCIA DE NOTICIAS AAMAQ   -  Daesh members in Niger, daesh claimed responsibility on 16 May 2019 for an ambush on an army patrol in Niger in which at least 28 troops were killed

However, these forces continue to exercise control and security in the Al-Hol and Al-Roj camps, where foreign fighters are being held with their wives and children, awaiting deportation to their home country for trial. According to various reports, the prisoners come from 50 countries, but there are still local terrorists, whom the Kurds claim are still waiting for international help to bring them to trial. 

 Future scenarios 

Daesh already has a new leader. They announced their new caliph, Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, to succeed Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, who killed himself by detonating a bomb on 4 February to escape capture by US special forces.

With the proclamation of a new leader, the Coalition will have to face a new phase of the terrorist organisation at a time when it has failed to prevent a new resurgence. 

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In Iraq and Syria, on the other hand, they are trying to re-establish a new landscape of stabilisation and order after years of war and attacks. On the other hand, Europe faces a worrying situation after the Sahel became a stronghold of jihadist hotbeds that threaten to further destabilise the region's security.

Finally, the United States, although it has withdrawn its troops in countries such as Afghanistan, is conducting very specific counterterrorism operations within the framework of the global counterterrorism coalition, although its support for local forces has diminished considerably.