ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Serious concerns exist over inactive Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria as well as Europe now that the militant group no longer has the capacity to carry out major combat operations from its so-called caliphate.
US Colonel Ryan Dillon announced during a Global Coalition Against Daesh (IS) briefing at the US Embassy in London that a few thousand fighters were remaining in Iraq and Syria. He also revealed the existence of a database of some 26,000 militant combatants collected from more than 70 countries.
“They [IS] are no longer a military threat. They no longer have an army that we saw present itself in 2014,” Dillon said, as reported by British media during the conference at the US embassy.
Dillon said about 3,000 IS militant remain in Iraq and Syria, according to a report by Asharq al-Awsat. He also stated Interpol was in charge of the global struggle against the militants and that thousands of IS terrorists were being monitored.
The coalition is maintaining a presence in Iraq and Syria and “adapting its strategy to support its partners and achieve sustainable victory,” Dillon affirmed.
He pointed out that the number of airstrikes against IS had fallen from 1,500 in September to 700 in October and finally, 200 in November.
Despite the loss of territory, the militant group is still publishing its content online and on social media, including most recently, threats of terror attacks during Christmas time in the UK.
Media reports state militants have been caught trying to smuggle themselves into Europe this week. Several terrorists who received training abroad have managed to return to Europe, including five militants who were discovered hiding in a fuel truck in Deir al-Zor earlier this week.
Editing by Nadia Riva