Numerous defeats on the battlefield mean the Islamic State has lost a quarter of its territory in Iraq and Syria over the last 18 months. In January 2015, ISIS controlled an area totaling 90,800 sq km. 18 months later, it has now shrunk by approximately 22,000 sq km, according to research firm IHS.
Although military advances have been successful to shrink the size of land ISIS hold, this could be bad news as the terror group may step up attacks on civilian targets.
Despite the success of the Russian, Kurdish and US-led coalition forces in stopping the terrorist organization from seizing any new territory, Columb Strack, a senior analyst at IHS says as “its governance project is failing,” it is likely that the group is “re-prioritizing insurgency,” which is bad news for civilian populations.
Strack stated “As a result, we unfortunately expect an increase in mass casualty attacks and sabotage of economic infrastructure, across Iraq and Syria, and further afield, including Europe.”
The Iraqi government recently retook control of the Iraqi city of Fallujah. Over the last month, the Iraqi capital has been hit by some of the worst attacks from the various terrorist groups in the region.
ISIS claimed responsibility for a refrigerator truck bomb in the city which killed over 200 people on July 2. Due to the holy month of Ramadan, the street where the blast took place was packed with residents.
ISIS suffered a large defeat in late March when the Syrian Army, aided by Russian air power, recaptured the city of Palmyra from the jihadist terror group, who had been in control of the area since May 2015.
Recently, a Kurdish military source said ISIS could carry out chemical weapons attacks in any part of the world.
General Akram Mohammad Abdulrahman said, “ISIL has equipped its terrorists with chemical bombs to use them in a suicide attack in Iraq, Syria or any other country.” Claiming that “scores of youngsters” have been instructed to be part of such attacks, he added that “both explosive and chemical material” might be “simultaneously” used by the terrorists.
If this report is true, mass casualties of civilians may be the result in the near future.
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