IDC Commends Secretary Tillerson’s Plans for Safe Zones in Syria and Iraq

Washington, DC– Speaking on Wednesday at the State Department conference of the 68-member coalition against the Islamic State, Secretary Tillerson said, “The United States will increase our pressure on ISIS and al Qaeda and will work to establish interim zones of stability through cease-fires to allow refugees to return home.”
Wednesday’s summit—the first such gathering of anti-ISIS countries since President Trump took office—was aimed at devising a plan for the rebuilding and stabilization of post-ISIS Syria and Iraq.

Coalition officials reportedly said that the interim zones referred to territory recaptured from the Islamic State across vast swaths of Iraq and Syria that would be held by a yet-to-be determined mix of multi-national forces.
“IDC applauds the Trump administration’s commitment to defeating ISIS and to ensuring the stabilization and reconstruction of the territory liberated by ISIS,” said IDC Executive Director Philippe Nassif.

The establishment of interim zones of stability in Syria, where people would be protected from Bashar al-Assad’s regime and ISIS, would alleviate the suffering and displacement of millions of Sunni Syrian refugees across the Middle East, as well as address the immense pressure being placed on Jordan and Lebanon, the latter being in great danger of becoming destabilized.

Similarly, an interim zone of stability in Iraq—which should include Tal Afar, Sinjar, and the Nineveh Plain—would protect the religious and ethnic minorities of the region who have suffered genocide, including Yazidis, Christians, and Turkmen. These communities yearn for local security, self-governance, and economic self-sufficiency, objectives that also advance U.S. national security interests in the region.

IDC also commends the Trump administration for calling on financial support for the operation from the Gulf states and the anti-ISIS coalition.
As IDC stated in January, “IDC further urges those states with the means, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, to contribute materially to the safe relocation of refugees from Lebanon, Jordan, and elsewhere into havens in Syria. Similar steps should be taken to help ISIS victims in northern Iraq. These nations should also take the lead in the funding the reconstruction of these communities.”

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