Watchdog: IS 'resurging' as US troops leave Syria

10 Août, 2019, 01:51 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • The Islamic State terror group could resume attacks before the end of the year a new report says

The jihadists - who suffered major territorial losses at the hands of Iraqi and Syrian forces backed by a US-led worldwide air campaign - are exploiting weaknesses in local forces to make gains, the report from the Office of Inspector General said.

The Islamic State (IS) group is exploiting the U.S. troop withdrawal to stage a resurgence in Syria, a Pentagon watchdog said Tuesday, adding that it has also strengthened its position in neighbouring Iraq.

While the loss of territory and a governed population has deprived the group of revenue from oil fields and taxes, Daesh is still able to generate wealth by receiving funds via informal money transfer businesses known as "hawaladars", as well as earning money through the lucrative industry of stolen antiquities which have been looted from various sites throughout the Levant.

But the secretary-general said ISIS is also encouraging increased financial self-sufficiency throughout its network of supporters and affiliates elsewhere in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

IS personnel "are also reported to have taken refuge in governorates where hostilities are ongoing", the United Nations report said. "A similar approach is anticipated in the Syrian Arab Republic".

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"Set against an approximate initial figure of 40,000 who joined the 'caliphate, ' these percentages would suggest that between 24,000 and 30,000 foreign terrorist fighters are alive", the report said.

"The reduction of USA forces has decreased the support available for Syrian partner forces at a time when their forces need more training and equipping to respond to the [IS] resurgence", he wrote in a letter that accompanied the report.

The lack of support has prevented the SDF from providing more than "minimal security" at camps for internally displaced people, specifically at al Hol in Hasakah province where several thousand IS family members reside.

Last week, US Special Representative for Syria Engagement, James Jeffrey said that there were some 15,000 active IS terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

Mr Guterres warned that "the threats posed in the short term by adult detainees and in the medium to long term by minors who are often traumatised and may become increasingly radicalised have the potential to grow more serious, with consequences for social integration and the potential risk of violence, including possible terrorist attacks in the future".

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