Lauren C. Moye | FISM News | January 8, 2023
The Islamic State (ISIS) is prepared for a 2023 resurgence, military experts and pentagon officials warned in a Washington Times exclusive posted on Thursday.
Since the liberation of all territory formerly controlled by ISIS on March 23, 2019, the terrorist group and Al-Qaeda offshoot have mostly disappeared from news headlines. However, the group has remained an active threat with the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS still active to prevent the group’s resurgence.
U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) recently reported that there were over 313 operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria during 2022 which resulted in 374 ISIS operatives detained with an additional 686 operatives killed.
“ISIS may not be the powerhouse it was nearly a decade ago, but with thousands of fighters in its ranks, the group is still fully capable of carrying out deadly terrorist attacks. Some U.S. analysts warn of “strategic neglect” by the U.S. and its allies to the threat of an Islamic State resurgence,” Washington Times reported.
While CENTCOM believes that Iraq and other partners in the coalition have demonstrated the ability to root out ISIS leaders to keep the terrorist network destabilized, there remain concerns about a coming resurgence.
On Thursday, a State Department press release announced that the U.S. and Türkiye jointly took action to disrupt ISIS financing by freezing the assets of four key members of the network.
Meanwhile, ISIS has claimed responsibility for a deadly blast at the Kabul, Afghanistan military airport on Jan. 1. The attack left several people dead and others wounded.
They have also claimed an attack in Ismailia, Egypt that killed four people.
These concerns are rooted in more than the current fighters who are still at large, however.
Additionally, there have been 10,000 ISIS leaders and fighters captured and detained in multiple centers throughout Iraq and Syria. Their ultimate fate remains unknown.
“There is a literal ‘ISIS army’ in detention,” General Michael “Erik’ Kurilla, the CENTCOM commander, said.
The fighters remain a security risk. For example, one year ago there was an attempted prison breakout in Al-Hasakah, Syria.
The detention center is also a breeding ground for future ISIS fighters.
“These are the more than 25,000 children in the al-Hol camp who are in danger. These children in the camp are prime targets for ISIS radicalization,” Kurilla continued. “The international community must work together to remove these children from this environment by repatriating them to their countries or communities of origin while improving conditions in the camp.”
The risk of this “next generation” of ISIS fighters has prompted some authorities to call for the children to be returned to their home countries.
Other analysts cited by Washington Times have warned that a void in government services and military abilities has set the stage for a quick resurgence of the terrorist group.
One analyst, Charles Lister of the Countering Terrorism & Extremism Program, additionally warned of a “worldwide ISIS revenge campaign” that is now “all but inevitable.”