Strong unity in the fight against ISIS

‘Much of the world’s attention is currently focused on Russia’s war in Ukraine. But all the while, violent extremism and terrorism are continuing to hamper development, and are spreading fear and uncertainty to more and more areas of sub-Saharan Africa and Afghanistan. It is therefore important to reaffirm our strong unity and support for the fight against ISIS, as we did at the meeting of the global coalition against ISIS today,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.

The coalition’s military efforts have been instrumental in ensuring that ISIL no longer has control over territory in Iraq and Syria, but ISIL still has the capacity to carry out terrorist attacks in these countries. The emergence of ISIL-affiliated terrorist groups in sub-Saharan Africa and increased activity by the Islamic State Khorasam Province (ISKP) in and around Afghanistan also give cause for concern.

‘ISKP’s resurgence in Afghanistan and the expansion of ISIL’s networks show how vital it is to keep up the fight against ISIL,’ Ms Huitfeldt said.

The discussions at the meeting also focused on the need for stabilisation efforts in order to prevent ISIL from gaining new breeding grounds in Syria and Iraq. The conflict in Syria has been going on for 12 years, and the humanitarian situation is becoming increasingly critical. Norway is one of the largest donors of humanitarian aid to the country, and has provided over NOK 18 billion in humanitarian support over the last 11 years.

At the meeting, Ms Huitfeldt confirmed that Norway would continue to provide stabilisation support and humanitarian assistance to people affected by the conflict in Syria and its neighbouring countries. This year, Norway will be providing close to NOK 1.7 billion in support to Syria and neighbouring Jordan and Lebanon, which are hosting millions of Syrian refugees.

‘Young people are a particularly vulnerable target group for ISIL propaganda and recruitment. Children and young people need education and hope for the future. We are increasing our support for activities, education and vocational training for young people in northwestern Syria by NOK 50 million for this year and next. We will also maintain our support for efforts to combat violent extremism and enhance the resilience of local communities in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions,’ Ms Huitfeldt said.

Norway has participated in the global coalition against ISIL since 2014. Some 30 Norwegian soldiers and officers are currently deployed in Iraq and 10 are deployed in Jordan.