ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – As the Islamic State (IS) continues to suffer losses in Syria and Iraq, the militant group’s “dedicated supporters” are growing online, Europol warned on Friday.
Europol, Europe’s policing agency, said the extremists were using the internet to keep their influence alive and gain more supporters.
The agency said IS was taking advantage of smaller internet platforms to spread their terror propaganda and reach a more global audience where they can build a “solid base” of supporters.
“The relative decrease of ‘official’ IS propaganda over the last month has allowed more room for pro-IS user-generated content,” Europol said in an official statement.
“This indicates that the so-called [IS] organization continues to have a solid base of dedicated supporters in the virtual environment of the internet,” the report added.
The findings were released by the policing agency after a two-day joint operation earlier this week to filter and flag content posted by extremist groups and sympathizers online.
Europol’s Internet Referral Unit worked with counter-terror and online propaganda experts from across Europe to conduct the investigation.
“Jihadist organizations and their supporters continue to abuse a variety of platforms for disseminating their propaganda,” the Europol statement continued.
“However, the disruptive actions undertaken by certain service providers to safeguard their platforms has led [IS] sympathizers to move to ‘smaller’ platforms,” the report concluded.
The agency said it had flagged 1,029 pieces of content promoting terror on the internet.
Since their emergence in mid-2014, IS has suffered large setbacks, losing swaths of territory they once controlled in Iraq and Syria.
The US-led coalition has backed Kurdish and Iraqi forces in their fight against the extremist group in both Syria and Iraq.