ISIS militants are moving back to Iraq and waging guerrilla - Report

“Look at where they’re hiding. It’s deserts. It’s caves. It’s places no one can ever fully control,” an Iraqi officer told the Washington Post.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
July 22, 2019 04:11
1 minute read.
A MEMBER of ISIS waves the group’s flag in Raqqa recently

A MEMBER of ISIS waves the group’s flag in Raqqa. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Hundreds of Islamic State fighters have made their way back to Iraq from Syria in the past eight months and have been carrying out guerrilla attacks in the country, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

According to the American newspaper, the militants take advantage of a network of insurgents that they contributed to building, and their knowledge of the territory to target those who are working to eradicate them, community leaders and security forces officials.

“Look at where they’re hiding. It’s deserts. It’s caves. It’s places no one can ever fully control,” Col. Saad Mohammed, an Iraqi army officer who participated in the campaign to defeat the Caliphate, told the Washington Post. “How many units would we need to secure every inch? Too many. No one has that capacity.”

The Iraqi government officially defeated the Islamic State presence in its territory in November 2017.

However, in western Iraqi’s Anbar province on the border with Syria, ISIS militants keep infiltrating by crossing the Euphrates river, in the same area that a few months ago witnessed the defeat of the last stronghold of the Caliphate in the Syrian village of Baghouz.

According to the report, experts say that the low-level insurgency can terrify communities still profoundly scarred by the ISIS rule and prompt them to turn a blind eye to the militants’ activity as prepare for a longer-term struggle.

However, the Washington Post pointed out also that the locals are also eager to avoid living under another Caliphate.

“In 2013 and 2014, it’s now clear that many people did not fully understand what ISIS was, or how it was meaningfully different to other groups opposing the state,” Sam Heller, an expert with the International Crisis Group told the DC-based paper. “Now, a lot of these same communities have collectively expelled [anyone] with a perceived link.”


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