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Iraq-Syria, Inherent Resolve: Isis is still a concrete threat

Isis is still a real danger in Iraq and Syria. This is confirmed by the latest report to Congress on the Inherent Resolve mission. In Syria, jihadists operate mainly in Homs and Deir Ezzor, with bases between Idlib and Aleppo and in the Badia desert

The danger represented by Isis in Iraq and Syria is still concrete. This was stated in the latest report by the US Chief Inspector of Defense (DoD) to Congress on the Inherent Resolve mission. IS carries on a low-level insurgency, but it remains a terrorist threat. In fact, the UN secretary general in August estimated that over 10,000 jihadists were active, divided into small cells, moving freely between the borders of the two nations. In Syria, militiamen continue to operate both in government-controlled territories and in those of the SDF. The most active are Homs and Deir Ezzor, but pockets are also detected in Aleppo, Idlib, Raqqa and Hasaka. The attacks are mainly carried out with IEDs and small arms and the campaigns of targeted killings continue. Finally, there are two safe heaven for fundamentalists: one in the remote areas between Idlib and Aleppo and the other in the Badia desert.

The capabilities of the SDF in the field of intelligence and targeting against IS are growing. Not surprisingly, the Coalition is providing them with more and more remote assistance

At the same time, however, the capacities of the SDF in the field of intelligence and targeting towards Isis are growing. The Kurdish fighters, according to the report, “conducted structured cycles, demonstrating better abilities to gather, analyze and use intelligence information”. In addition, their ability to plan and conduct autonomous operations has increased. Not surprisingly, fewer joint operations against IS in eastern Syria have been necessary in recent months. This, although they continue to exist especially in relation to targeted and high-value objectives. In fact, the Coalition’s partnership activity has focused more on remote assistance.

For the jihadists the same tactics in Iraq: attacks with IEDs and small arms, especially in rural areas. The ISF, however, are increasingly independent and able to counter the threat

Even in Iraq, Isis tactics are the same, but the areas involved are mainly rural ones and fewer attacks are recorded. On the other hand, those targeted against senior ISF and PMF officials have increased. Most of the ambushes occurred in Diyala, followed by Salahuddin, Kirkuk, Anbar and Nineveh. Conversely, local security forces are increasingly autonomous and require less assistance from Inherent Resolve, as the latest operations against IS demonstrate. This, in fact, is provided above all remotely after the birth of the Military Assistance Group (MAG) and its evolutions (JOCAT and OCATs).

The financial flows of militiamen in Iraq and Syria are precarious, due to the lack of control of the territory in the two countries which has caused their illicit trafficking to collapse

Furthermore, financial flows to the Isis jihadists in Iraq and Syria are precarious due to the lack of control of the territory in the two countries. This has led to a decrease in revenues from the sale of oil and IS’s ability to extort money from the population and businesses. Over the past 3 years, Inherent Resolve has frozen some 30 terrorist banks and financial centers, seizing tens of millions of dollars of cash. In addition, the numerous arrests made by at least 65 nations of the group’s fighters and financiers contributed to this collapse.

Isis tries to run for cover: here’s how

Isis is trying to run for cover. This, by raising funds through extortion and oil smuggling networks in eastern Syria, kidnappings and front company operations. Cash is smuggled through courier networks across the Iraqi-Syrian border and is often handed over to logistics centers in Turkey for transfer through monetary services firms, including hawalas. Not even the use of cryptocurrencies was lacking, even from the Al-Hol refugee camp. IS, however, still has some monetary reserves. There is talk of about 100 million dollars, although there are no details on the estimates. They were collected in various ways including private donations, crowd-sourcing, and online appeals that leveraged the conditions of women in the camps. In addition, numerous fake Covid 19 devices have been sold on the net. Finally, it seems that the jihadists are considering the possibility of smuggling tobacco.

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