ISIS has not been defeated and could rise from the ‘tinder box’ of Syria at any time, the UK’s senior military officer has warned.
General Sir Nick Carter said last week’s attack on London Bridge showed that despite the jihadis being driven from their so-called Caliphate, they remain a threat.
ISIS once controlled a vast swathe of territory in Iraq and Syria but were finally defeated in the town of Baghouz, northeastern Syria, in April by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces backed by the US.
The fanatical death cult’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi blew himself up, along with three of his children, while trying to escape US forces in October.
But despite these setbacks ISIS – or Daesh as they are known in Arabic – Sir Nick warned in a speech to the Royal United Services Institute, they remain a danger.
“Daesh, and the extremist ideas it represents, has absolutely not been defeated – indeed the threat from terrorism has proliferated – as was sadly demonstrated once again in last Friday’s attack at London Bridge,” he said.
Fears about their revival in Syria emerged in the wake of the US pulling troops out of the north of the country, paving the way Turkey and its local allies to begin attacking the Kurds.
General Mazloum Kobane, commander of the SDF, said Turkey's incursion into Syria created the perfect environment for jihadis to regroup.
This has made the already volatile situation in the country, which at one point saw 1000 groups fighting, even worse, said Sir Nick.
“Of course, these different actors all have very different agendas,” he said.
“Now this suggests that this is a tinder box that could easily ignite a wider conflagration.”
Thousands of ISIS fighters are believed to remain in Syria and Iraq, with many having fled to other unstable states.
Many more remain in prisons, which are seen as breeding grounds for a next generation of extremists, raising fears further conflict could lead to their release and a resurgent terror group.
In the London Bridge attack, convicted terrorist Usman Khan, 28, stabbed two Cambridge University graduates to death before being shot dead by police.
The attack began in Fishmongers Hall, which sits on the northern side of London Bridge, at an event hosted by university, later spilling out onto the street.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack that evening, saying Khan had been "responding to calls to target the nationals of Coalition countries", though is yet to provide evidence it played any actual role in the plot.
Source: Read Full Article