SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Three United States senators and key staff joined Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria this week.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) came in on two separate but overlapping visits that included trips to Kobane, Manbij and Raqqah, Syria as well as Baghdad, Erbil and Mosul, Iraq.
The senators, all of whom serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, saw firsthand the extraordinary sacrifice of the Coalition and its partners in liberating more than 7.7 million Iraqis and Syrians from Daesh's brutal rule in the region.
During the July 2 visit to Manbij, Syria, Senators Graham and Shaheen interacted with Manbij Civil Council officials leading a peaceful, diverse population on the road back to normalcy. “I will tell the story of Manbij to my colleagues; it is a place of hope in a region that needs hope,” said Graham.
Coalition forces are actively conducting coordinated, independent patrols along the northern demarcation line outside Manbij to ensure continued peace and security to bolster increasing regional stability there. Security operations inside the city are operated entirely by the local Manbij Military Council under the civilian oversight of the Manbij Civil Council. “It is important for us to stay here and help you,” said Graham.
Graham and Shaheen also visited a Syrian Democratic Forces' detention center near Ayn Issa, which houses Daesh fighters captured on the battlefield. Coalition officials are working with international governments on the disposition of foreign-born Daesh fighters in detention.
Other key engagements included visits with Iraq's Prime Minister Abadi and the Kurdish Regional Government's Prime Minister Barzani to discuss increased coordination and communication among government and security officials throughout Iraq.
On July 4, the senators visited Erbil and Mosul, Iraq, where Maj. Gen. Najem Abdullah Al-Jubouri discussed increased security that enables stabilization efforts in Ninewah Province. The visit included a tour of Mosul, where the senators saw Iraqis returning to normalcy in the city in which Daesh proclaimed its fake “caliphate” in 2014. The site of
Daesh's proclamation, the historic Al Nouri Mosque, was destroyed by Daesh when their defeat became imminent in late June 2017.
“Our military support played a significant role in enabling the Iraqi Security Forces to retake their country – but only the Iraqis can do the hard work needed to rebuild and prevent extremist threats from reemerging. They need the world's support in this effort,” said Warren.
CJTF-OIR continues to pursue the lasting defeat of Daesh in Iraq and Syria, and provides security that enables non-military, civilian-led stabilization lines of effort in the two countries that suffered so much under Daesh. "We call on all the nations of the world to come forward and contribute to much-needed stabilization activities in Iraq and Syria," said CJTF-OIR's deputy commander for strategy and support, Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney. "Our partners' military successes have bought space, time and security for stabilization projects. Only hope will ensure the lasting defeat of Daesh by preventing the return of conditions under which the terrorists arose."