International Coalition delegation visits North and East Syria

RMELAN, Syria — The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) organized a conference on Tuesday of local leaders and the visiting delegation of high-level commanders of the International Coalition against the Islamic State at a Coalition base in the North and East Syria town of Rmelan.

During the conference, Coalition Spokesperson Col. Wayne Marotto stressed the Coalition’s continued support for the SDF in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) and other extremist elements in the region and praised the effectiveness of the SDF in combatting common enemies.

On the sidelines of the conference, Col. Marotto spoke with a correspondent from SuroyoTV who asked about the degree to which the Coalition was involved in the management of the camps and prisons holding thousands of ISIS detainees.

Col. Marotto responded by stating that the task of the Coalition is to eliminate ISIS and its elements in Syria and Iraq, and the management of prisons and camps detaining ISIS members and their families does not within the Coalition’s mission, though it does act as an observer over the prisons.

Asked about the coalition’s role in rehabilitating ISIS members and their families, Col. Marotto replied said that the Coalition was founded only for combat missions and is not tasked with, nor equipped to, rehabilitate ISIS members, noting that there are international organizations involved in the issue.

Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Coalition Forces Maj. Gen. Kevin M. Copsey stated during the conference noted that Coalition Forces and their partners in the SDF and Iraqi security forces were able to accomplish, through cooperation, the objectives they have been tasked with thus far, namely, continuing to pressure, eliminate, and arrest ISIS members in Syria and Iraq and to return stability to those areas it controlled.

In pursuit of this mission, Maj. Gen. Copsey said the Coalition has trained 120,000 fighters in Syria and Iraq, men and women who to date have liberated 8 million people from ISIS control.

Maj. Gen. Copsey also stressed that the Coalition and its partners are in a new phase in the fight against ISIS, more counter-terrorism and fewer combat operations, while stressing that the coalition is committed to providing the necessary support to SDF to ensure it has the necessary tools and equipment to complete that mission.

In response to a question by SuroyoFM about Turkish violations of the ceasefire agreement the U.S. brokered on 17 October 2019, Maj. Gen. Copsey stressed that Turkey must support a political path towards peace in the region and move away from escalation in North and East Syria. He also noted that the Coalition is committed to providing everything necessary to accomplish this.

General Copsey replied that the Turkish occupation state must support the political path to find solutions and stay away from escalation in North and East Syria, stressing that they, as an international coalition, are committed to providing everything necessary to accomplish this mission.