Left Menu
Development News Edition

ISIL remains in Iraq and Syria, including 3,000 foreign fighters: UN report

“This is exacerbated by the challenge of foreign terrorist fighters who either are leaving conflict zones or those who are returning or who are about to be released from prison. In this context, radicalization in prison settings is seen as a particular challenge in Europe and Iraq,” Under-Secretary-General Voronkov added.


ISIL remains in Iraq and Syria, including 3,000 foreign fighters: UN report
The UN analysis shows that Member States continue to face tremendous challenges across the world in tackling the threats posed by ISIL, with the threat level continuing to expand. This is especially true in North, West and East Africa as well as in Central Asia. Image Credit: Wikimedia commons

Though attacks were down last year, a new United Nations report to the Security Council on Monday shows that ISIL is still a global threat, despite evolving into a "covert" terrorist network, with countries continuing to face challenges from the growing scourge of violent extremism.

"Despite the more concealed or locally embedded activities of ISIL cells, its central leadership retains influence and maintains an intent to generate internationally-directed attacks and thereby still plays an important role in advancing the group's objectives," explained Vladimir Voronkov, who heads the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT).

"This is exacerbated by the challenge of foreign terrorist fighters who either are leaving conflict zones or those who are returning or who are about to be released from prison. In this context, radicalization in prison settings is seen as a particular challenge in Europe and Iraq," Under-Secretary-General Voronkov added.

He said that so-called "frustrated travellers" were adding to the complexity of the threat, namely fighters who'd failed to reach main battlegrounds but been diverted instead elsewhere, either by ISIL commanders or of their own volition.

The report notes that the "centre of gravity" of the organization, known in the Arab world as Da'esh, remains in Iraq and Syria, with up to 18,000 remaining in the ranks, including some 3,000 foreign fighters.

"In terms of ISIL's financial strength, the report notes that despite some loss of revenue due to territorial setbacks, ISIL could sustain its operations through accessible reserves, in cash or investment in businesses, ranging between $50 and $300 million. ISIL cells are also reported to generate revenue through criminal activities", explained Mr Voronkov.

The document, the eighth report on ISIL – which proclaimed its so-called caliphate across northern Syria and Iraq in 2014 - was prepared on behalf of the UN Secretary-General by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da'esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, in close collaboration with the UNOCT and other UN entities and international organisations.

After being driven from its city strongholds of Mosul and Raqqa, intense fighting in recent months has left Da'esh defending a small enclave against US-backed fighters in eastern Syria, close to the Iraqi border. According to news reports, around 600 terrorist fighters continue to battle with coalition forces, which have labelled this the "final battle" to crush ISIL.

Challenges faced by the Member States

The UN analysis shows that Member States continue to face tremendous challenges across the world in tackling the threats posed by ISIL, with the threat level continuing to expand. This is especially true in North, West and East Africa as well as in Central Asia. Training camps have been identified in Afghanistan, and in South-East Asia, where women and youth are increasingly mobilized for terrorist operations across the region.

The head of CTED, Michele Coninsx, highlighted three of those major challenges faced by the Member States:

The "destructive legacy" left in Syria and Iraq, most noticeable in the high number of families who remain internally-displaced due to the destruction of homes and infrastructure overall: She noted that "reconstruction will take many years and will require significant resources, as will restoring and reconciling communities after so many years of conflict."

The growth in the number of terrorist suspects and offenders in custody: The risk posed by such prisoners is difficult to assess and manage.

ISIL's ability to exploit new technologies and find innovative ways to finance itself and find new recruits: Ms Coninsx noted, for example, the risks linked to anonymous technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and other internet-based ways of avoiding detection.

The UN's support to the Member States

For several years, various parts of the UN have supported Member States in the fields of prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration (PRR) of former fighters; international judicial cooperation; countering terrorist financing; border management and law enforcement; countering terrorist narratives and engaging communities to prevent violent extremism.

Specifically, explained CTED's Executive Director Coninsx, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UNOCT are leading a joint project to provide tailored capacity-building assistance to prison staff.

In the Lake Chad Basin, she said CTED and UNODC are working to provide the Member States with technical expertise to develop comprehensive strategies to prosecute, rehabilitate and reintegrate persons associated with the Boko Haram extremist group.

Other initiatives include the development of a practical guide for requesting electronic evidence across borders, and the deployment of a specialized consultant to support Iraq in its efforts to develop a holistic and comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy.

"The Secretary-General has stressed that despite recent successes against ISIL / Da'esh and its affiliates, the threat posed by returning and relocating fighters, as well as from individuals inspired by them, remains high and has a global reach," stressed Mr Voronkov. "I would therefore emphasize, the recent ISIL losses should not lead to complacency at any level," he concluded.

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

Conspiracy theories on COVID 19: Legislators, Scientists, and Journalists all joined the Caravan

Conspiracy theories are not new for virus epidemics. There have been conspiracy theories on HIV-AIDS, Polio Vaccines, Ebola Virus, and several other diseases as well. However, what makes the 2019 Novel Coronavirus different from others is ...

Top 10 Fake News, Myths and Realities on 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID 19

With nearly 1500 deaths by January 14 and around 65,000 infections in China, the Novel Coronavirus 2019 has become one of the worst health epidemics of the 21st Century. However, 8,573 people have been cured but the rumor mongers are a...

Handling fake news Infodemic in time of Coronavirus epidemic

Social media has provided a platform where everybody can disseminate his her views without any supervision. Its excellent if the message is genuine but misinformation is equally disastrous. Health is such a topic where every Tom and Harry c...

Sentiment Analysis on Budget 2020: Long shot for solution to economic worries?

Industries and individuals alike had high expectations from the government to take tangible steps but the budget 2020 seems to have failed expectations....

Videos

Latest News

UPDATE 1-EXCLUSIVE-SmileDirectClub’s top dentist risks losing license in California crackdown

The top dentist and public face of SmileDirectClub is at risk of losing his California license following a two-year state dental board investigation, records reviewed by Reuters show.The California disciplinary process underway against dent...

Mass shooting in German city leaves 8 dead, several critically injured: Report

At least eight people were killed and five others were critically injured in a mass shooting incident in the German city of Hanau on Wednesday, Bild newspaper reported. The mass shooting was carried out by two unknown gunmen in two separate...

Basketball-Veteran-heavy U.S. Olympic team to sidestep formal tryouts - GM

When it comes to the mens U.S. Olympic basketball team, the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts. U.S. national team General Manager Jerry Colangelo told Sirius XM NBA Radio that he and head coach Gregg Popovich are focused on cre...

UPDATE 1-Venezuela's Maduro announces presidential commission to restructure oil industry

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday he would create a presidential commission to restructure the countrys beleaguered oil industry, which will be led by Vice President for the Economy Tareck El Aissami.The announcement cam...

Give Feedback