ISIS is still a global threat with a warchest of $300MILLION despite losing its territory in Iraq and Syria, UN counterterrorism officials warn

Wednesday, August 28, 2019
By Paul Martin

ISIS defeat in Syria was a ‘watershed’ moment but not a ‘fatal blow’, expert warns
Group evolved into ‘covert’ force with up to 30,000 fighters and $300m in funds
It is expanding in West Africa and has established a foothold in Asia, UN told
Current lull in terrorist attacks ‘may only be temporary’, Security Council heard

28 August 2019

ISIS is still a global threat and commands a warchest of $300million despite losing most of its territory in Iraq and Syria, a UN counter-terrorism expert said Tuesday.

Vladimir Voronkov, undersecretary-general for the U.N. Office of Counter-Terrorism, warned that while ISIS’s defeat in Baghuz was a ‘watershed’ moment, it was not a ‘fatal blow’.

The group ‘continues to evolve into a covert network’ with fighters spread across the Middle East, West Africa, Asia and embedded in western nations, he added.

‘This follows the same pattern we have seen in Iraq since 2017, where ISIS insurgency activity reportedly designed to prevent normalization and reconstruction efforts continue,’ he said, according to UPI.

Mr Voronkov issued his warning Tuesday in an address to the United Nations Security Council.

Updating members on the fight against ISIS, he estimated that the group has a main force of between 24,000 and 30,000 fighters left, down from an initial estimate of 40,000 after Baghuz – their last stronghold in Syria – was toppled.

However, he said the group continues to gain ground in West Africa where it is recruiting and is thought to have an army of around 4,000.

Despite military pressures, there are also thought to be hundreds of thousands of fighters in Asia, he said.

He noted that the group is also starting to target places of worship in the region – such as in the Sri Lanka bombings – which is a new development and shows how the threat continues to evolve.

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