The extremist group of the Islamic State, known as ISIS, has been eliminated last year in Syria, and a year before in Iraq, as it was announced.
But the question is: Was the extremist group which published photos of its victims killed in the most horrific ways in modern times, exterminated? What about its resurgence that we hear about every now and then?
The Pentagon confirms ISIS resurgence
The U.S. Pentagon has repeatedly reiterated that the extremist group is likely to resurge, although the Pentagon itself announced its elimination in its last bastion, in Syria’s Baghouz battle 2019.
The U.S. is leading an international coalition in Syria and Iraq, includes Arab and western countries, aiming at eliminating the organization.
Although one year has already passed since announcing the defeat of ISIS in Baghouz, the coalition is still conduction operations against the organization.
“The coalition, in cooperation with its local allies, will continue chasing the remnants of ISIS in Syria and Iraq,” said an official in the U.S-led coalition.
“ISIS has been defeated, but not eliminated, we have found that it still can carry out and finance its criminal and hostile activities,” the spokesperson of the international coalition, Myles Caggins said.
“The organization kidnapped people near the Iraqi city of Diyala, we also saw them in Syria attacking some sheepherders in Deir Ezzor and steeling about 1,000 sheep,” the U.S. military official said, adding that ISIS sometimes imposes illegal taxes in some areas of their presence on Syria-Iraq borders.
“ISIS insurgents are hiding away from the city centers, in mountainous areas, in valleys, and in the Syrian Desert, but they approach villages and cities sometimes to secure their basic needs by steeling them from the villagers there,” the official revealed, pointing out that they always attempt to regain control over these areas, but they will not succeed.
He indicated that ISIS is unable to recruit any more people for recapturing geographical swathes, additionally; the pressures exerted by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Iraqi security forces will prevent ISIS resurgence.
“Three weeks ago, the SDF caused the terrorist organization huge losses in lives, killing and arresting more than 50 ISIS members,” Caggins said.
“Meanwhile, Iraqi forces conducted another operation in mountainous areas, searching for ISIS members who are surrounded from both Syrian and Iraqi sides,” he continued.
“That operation was aerially backed by the international coalition, to help our partners attacking ISIS members, chasing them and locating them,” he continued.
Caggins affirmed that all the operations carried out in Iraq are coordinated with the Iraqi security forces and has been approved by the Iraqi government, “as we can’t carry out any aerial strikes without the consent of out Iraqi allies.
Last August, a Pentagon inspector general said in a report that the Islamic State is re-emerging in Syria after the U.S. withdrew its forces from the country; stressing that it ISIS is enhancing its capabilities in Iraq.
Despite loosing its caliphate on the ground, ISIS reinforced its armed capabilities in Iraq and resumed its activities in Syria during the current quarter of the year, the report indicated.
Last summer, the Iraqi police received a report from citizens in al-Tarmiyah district, north of Baghdad, stating that they had detected a vehicle believed to be loaded with explosives. On checking the vehicle, ISIS gunmen who were hiding in the place, shot and killed seven of the policemen.
This operation, together with a similar one, indicates that ISIS is still a danger despite its military defeat. A little after that attack, the leader of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militia Qais al-Khaza’ali said that ISIS hasn’t leave al-Tarmiyah at all, and he challenged the head of the government to admit the problem and solve it.
This was preceded by many other events which indicate that ISIS still exists in Iraq and is still able to carry out operations and activities through street wars and sleeper cells.
These tactics raise concerns, as in 2019 alone, ISIS carried out 139 attacks in northern and western provinces in Iraq, in which 274 people were killed; 170 of them were policemen, and to defy the Iraqi authorities and show its brutality, ISIS documented the beheading of policeman in the city of Samara.
Facts indicate that the Islamic State organization is not yet eliminated, neither in Syria nor in Iraq, and it’s not a past yet. Abu Ali al-Basri, director general of intelligence and anti-terrorism department at the Iraqi Interior Ministry, said at the end of last July that his forces killed 3500 ISIS fighters, But this figure, which seems large, is not so, compared to the number of its active members in Syria and Iraq, which is estimated at 18,000, according to the New York Times. The organization’s leadership has a wealth of $ 400 million, part of which is used to carry out terrorist attacks.
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