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IS has not been defeated in Syria, still poses huge threat: UN report

By AFP
February 07, 2019

UNITED NATIONS: The Islamic State group has not been defeated in Syria and continues to pose by far the most significant threat of any terror group, UN sanctions monitors said Wednesday, contradicting President Donald Trump's claims that IS is nearly wiped out.

There are between 14,000 and 18,000 IS militants in Syria and in Iraq, including up to 3,000 foreign fighters, according to a report by the sanctions monitoring team presented to the Security Council.

"ISIL has not yet been defeated in the Syrian Arab Republic, but it remains under intense military pressure in its residual territory stronghold in the east of the country," said the report, using the acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Other acronyms for the group are IS, ISIS and Daesh. "It has shown a determination to resist and the capability to counter-attack."

Trump stunned Western allies on December 19 by announcing that the United States would pull its 2,000 troops out of Syria, declaring that IS had been defeated. His assertion has collided with the assessment of his own national intelligence director, Dan Coats, who described the jihadist group as a potent threat in the Middle East and to the West. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a 79-nation meeting in Washington on Wednesday that the United States remained committed to crushing IS but added that the approach could change in "an era of decentralized jihad." The sanctions monitors, who reported on the threat from IS, Al-Qaeda and other groups blacklisted as terror groups by the United Nations, said the Islamic jihadists ranked as the most dangerous. "ISIL continues to be associated with more terrorist activity than any competitor group, so it continues to pose by far the most significant threat," said the report.

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