fleeing offensives where are the is jihadists going
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
Arab Today, arab today

from its former Syrian stronghold Raqa

Fleeing offensives, where are the IS jihadists going?

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Fleeing offensives, where are the IS jihadists going?

Fleeing offensives, where are the IS jihadists going?
Beirut - AFP

The Islamic State group is under attack across the remaining parts of its self-proclaimed caliphate, but what happens to its thousands of fighters as their group loses grip on territory?

Facing multiple offensives, the jihadist group has lost the Libyan city of Sirte, Iraq's Mosul and Ramadi, and is now on the verge of being ousted from its former Syrian stronghold Raqa.

At its peak IS counted tens of thousands of fighters among its ranks, with US officials estimating as many as 40,000 foreign fighters travelled to join the jihadists over the years.

How many have been killed, arrested?

Forces attacking IS have regularly reported the deaths and arrests of large numbers of jihadists, but their figures are often vague and cannot be independently verified.

"We can't give an exact number of those arrested but we can say that there are a good number of them being detained by our forces," said Mustafa Bali, spokesman for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces currently battling IS in Syria.

In Iraq's Mosul, journalists saw the bodies of jihadists killed in fighting on the streets, but they numbered no more than a few dozen at any time, far less than the hundreds authorities often said had died in combat.

Other IS fighters may have been arrested and then executed.

In July, the Human Rights Watch group accused a unit of Iraq's army of carrying out summary executions of suspected jihadist prisoners.

Hiding among civilians?

A persistent fear for forces attacking IS is that its fighters will try to blend into the civilian population, either fleeing along with the displaced or staying behind in homes.

"The problem of operatives hiding among civilians who flee is certainly a major issue," said Aymenn al-Tamimi, a research fellow at the Middle East Forum.

"Operatives might stay behind and melt into the wider civilian population to function as sleeper cells or recruit others to become part of sleeper cells as well," he told AFP.

In Syria, Bali said, some IS fighters "have been discovered in camps for the displaced via our databases".

Others have been turned in by civilians who recognised and reported them.

But some fighters slip through nonetheless, especially as "some civilians are afraid to report them, fearing revenge will be taken against them," said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.

Iraqi forces, like their counterparts in Syria, use a database to pick out suspected IS fighters from among civilians.

But a local Iraqi official said "a large number of Daesh elements are hiding among the population in Mosul, particularly in the Old City," using the Arabic acronym for IS.

Their presence is evidenced by "the assassinations and bombings that continue daily", said Hisham al-Hashimi, a researcher who specialises in jihadist movements.

What about foreign fighters?

The many non-Arab foreign fighters among IS's ranks may not be able to blend so easily into the fleeing civilian populations, with their features and language betraying them.

"There's a lot of (IS) foreign fighters there that don't want to give up and intend to fight very hard," the top coalition commander assisting and advising the SDF told AFP.

Foreign fighters are often those carrying out suicide attacks, added Hashimi, and by the end of any given battle "the number of them left behind is very small".

Their chances of returning home are slim, with intelligence services closely monitoring for returnees, and the Turkish border now tightly surveilled.

Charlie Winter, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, said IS's own propaganda suggested a loosening of its once-tight rules against leaving its territory for that of the "unbelievers".

"The group has very indirectly -- but also in my opinion unambiguously -- essentially said that it is no longer impermissible to flee the IS territories," he told AFP.

Refuge in remaining IS territory?

With its territory across Syria and Iraq rapidly shrinking, IS is now concentrating its resources in the Euphrates River valley that lies along the Syria-Iraq border, experts say.

"For a long time now the centre of gravity for the Islamic State has been shifting... towards places like Mayadeen and Albu Kamal," in the east of Syria's Deir Ezzor province, said Winter.

"IS has very systematically been bulking up its infrastructure and its population in these places," he added.

He said IS had likely ensured that large numbers of fighters moved to these areas well before they were surrounded in places like Raqa and Mosul.

That means now that the fight for places like Mayadeen and Albu Kamal could be "surprisingly ferocious," he said.

Source: AFP

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

fleeing offensives where are the is jihadists going fleeing offensives where are the is jihadists going

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

fleeing offensives where are the is jihadists going fleeing offensives where are the is jihadists going

 



Arab Today, arab today Modern colorful bedroom renovation

GMT 11:23 2017 Thursday ,21 December

Modern colorful bedroom renovation
Arab Today, arab today For the Variety of Interior Design Styles

GMT 11:14 2017 Tuesday ,19 December

For the Variety of Interior Design Styles

GMT 11:34 2017 Thursday ,05 January

Russian Marines in smashing Philippine charm offensive

GMT 09:30 2015 Tuesday ,23 June

Solar Impulse set to take off early Wednesday

GMT 14:18 2016 Saturday ,01 October

McIlroy hopes eagle dance inspires Team Europe

GMT 14:57 2017 Wednesday ,11 January

VP unveils UAE energy strategy for next three3 decades

GMT 07:07 2017 Monday ,20 February

Netanyahu held secret Arab peace meeting

GMT 10:29 2016 Monday ,08 August

'Suicide Squad' beats 'Bourne' with huge debut

GMT 10:00 2017 Thursday ,06 April

We are trying to re-raise Egyptian cotton value

GMT 12:51 2017 Friday ,27 January

UN envoy to hold talks with Gambia's new president

GMT 13:07 2017 Tuesday ,14 March

MTV Movie Awards renamed to include TV

GMT 21:30 2017 Sunday ,23 July

EU's Federica Mogherini arrives in Kuwait

GMT 08:52 2016 Monday ,03 October

Afghan city of Kunduz under Taliban attack

GMT 13:06 2017 Saturday ,21 January

Iranian delegation due in Saudi to talk

GMT 13:54 2012 Tuesday ,24 July

Qatar’s only woman golfer
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube

Maintained and developed by Arabs Today Group SAL.
All rights reserved to Arab Today Media Group 2021 ©

Maintained and developed by Arabs Today Group SAL.
All rights reserved to Arab Today Media Group 2021 ©

arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday