ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Despite their string of defeats in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State (IS) remains a global threat, UN experts warned.
A 24-page report, prepared by a panel of experts for the United Nations Security Council, underlined the extremist group’s persistent threat worldwide.
The UN panel pointed to the militant group’s financial situation and said oil profits and the imposition of taxes on local populations under their control allowed IS to send funds to their supporters.
The report also warned IS was developing the capability to build larger drones for reconnaissance and bombing missions abroad.
Footage of IS using drones to target soldiers in Iraq and Syria
The Security Council report said the military pressure against the group had led to a decreased number of foreign fighters joining IS.
The extremist group’s presence in Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, suggests their influence may continue to rise, the experts added.
However, the report stressed that based on recent events, “Europe remained a priority region” for IS attacks.
According to the experts, IS has been stepping up its international efforts “as demonstrated by the higher pace of attacks in Europe.”
After nearly ten months of clashes, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the group in Mosul last month, their last remaining major stronghold in Iraq.
Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces have surrounded IS in Tal Afar, located 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Mosul, where an offensive to free the city has begun.
In Syria, a US-backed Kurdish-led alliance has liberated over 50 percent of territory from the militant group in Raqqa, their de facto capital in the country.
Editing by G.H. Renaud