The Islamic State terrorist group is still a threat in Iraq and Syria
The US-led Coalition battling the Islamic State (IS) has warned that the extremists are still capable of posing a threat to liberated areas in Iraq and Syria.
“We are seeing small pockets of ISIS [Islamic State] still in areas like Kirkuk and Anbar provinces,” Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the Coalition said during an interview with the VOA.
“They are trying to disrupt civilian services, like water and electricity, to try to get the people against the government,” Ryan added.
Seth Frantzman, executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis (MECRA), said that IS uses the desert in Iraq’s Kirkuk, Nineveh, Diyala, Salahaddin, and Anbar to cover its military movements.
Kurdish officials also have repeatedly warned about the deteriorating security situation in areas around Mosul and Kirkuk. The Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) said earlier this week that the insurgents had carried out at least 22 attacks in Mosul and Kirkuk during the month of September.
“During September, unrest increased in Kirkuk and Mosul, among other areas. ISIS attacks increased, sometimes targeting multiple villages at once; IEDs continued being exploded on a regular basis, and hits on ISF/PMF homes and figures, and electricity infrastructure have become a feature,” the KRSC said in an online statement.
According to Ryan, IS now holds 1% of the Syrian territories it once held after declaring the so-called Caliphate.
“Right now, they still hold good presence in the middle Euphrates River Valley,” Ryan said. “That’s where the main effort and the main fight is along with our partner, the Syrian Democratic Forces. That’s their last remaining territory as well.”