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PH joins global alliance to beat IS – US Secretary of State

Members of a U.S.-led coalition fighting against the Islamic State group pose for a group photograph in Kuwait City, Kuwait, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. Members of the U.S.-led coalition group met Tuesday at Kuwait’s Bayan Palace as American officials are pressing their partners to refocus efforts, overcome rivalries and concentrate on the eradication from Iraq and Syria of the extremist group. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

The Philippines has joined a United States-led broad international coalition that seeks to crush terror organization Islamic State (IS), Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson announced on Tuesday in Kuwait.

“We were able to announce today it’s now 75 members because we welcomed the Philippines,” Tillerson said in a joint press briefing with the Kuwaiti foreign minister, which transcript was made available at state.gov.

The US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS was formed in 2014.

Kuwait played host to the meeting of the anti-ISIS coalition and announced a donation of $330 million to help fund Iraq’s reconstruction.

“As ISIS has evolved, so has the coalition. The guiding principles that were adopted by the coalition today lay out our vision for the future role of the coalition to continue this fight against ISIS,” Tillerson said.

According to Tillerson, the coalition was committed to “destroying ISIS wherever it may be, denying its ability to recruit, move foreign terrorist fighters, transfer funds, and spread their false propaganda across the internet and other social media vehicles.”

The Philippine government has yet to announce its participation in the coalition.

In May 2017, the ISIS-inspired Maute group besieged Marawi City in the Southern Philippines. This prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law across the Mindanao region.

The battle between the Maute group and government troops lasted for nearly five months, which resulted in the displacement of thousands of civilians and left Marawi City in ruins.

The militants were defeated and failed to establish an ISIS territory or wilayat in Mindanao.

During the so-called Marawi City siege, the US extended its support to the Philippines by providing counter-terror weapons to Philippine soldiers. The US also pledged aid in the rehabilitation of the war-torn city. /kga

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