Any let up in efforts to breath after beating the group down will let it become reborn….
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday acknowledged that there are “places where ISIS is more powerful today than they were three or four years ago,” but sought to downplay the risk posed by the terrorist organization in the wake of a report warning of its resurgence in Syria.
Five months after American-backed forces ousted the Islamic State from its last shard of territory in Syria, the terrorist group is gathering new strength, conducting guerrilla attacks across Iraq and Syria, retooling its financial networks and targeting new recruits at an allied-run tent camp, American and Iraqi military and intelligence officers said.
Though President Trump hailed a total defeat of the Islamic State this year, defense officials in the region see things differently, acknowledging that what remains of the terrorist group is here to stay.
A recent inspector general’s report warned that a drawdown this year from 2,000 American forces in Syria to less than half of that, ordered by Mr. Trump, has meant the American military has had to cut back support for Syrian partner forces fighting ISIS. For now, American and international forces can only try to ensure that ISIS remains contained and away from urban areas.
Although there is little concern that the Islamic State will reclaim its former physical territory, a caliphate that was once the size of Britain and controlled the lives of up to 12 million people, the terrorist group has still mobilized as many as 18,000 remaining fighters in Iraq and Syria. These sleeper cells and strike teams have carried out sniper attacks, ambushes, kidnappings and assassinations against security forces and community leaders.