The the CIS Anti-Terrorism Centre is claiming today that nearly 90 percent of Syria is now free from jihadist terrorist groups.
“According to the estimates of the military, 90 percent of Syria’s territory has been freed of terrorist groups, which is a very positive result,” says Andrey Novikov, the head of the Commonwealth of Independent States Anti-Terrorism Centre.
Over the last month, the Syrian forces, backed by Hezbollah and Russia, have weakened the ISIS hold and regained territory at an increasing rate. Early in September, Syrian President Bashar Hafez Assad claimed a resounding victory when Syrian forces broke through a nearly three-year ISIS blockade to join with soldiers who were based outside Deir al-Zour.
Also last month, the Syrian Democratic Armed Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militia, expelled ISIS from most of the Syrian city of Raqqa. By the middle of September, SDF controlled about 70 percent of the city, which is located on the northeast bank of the Euphrates River.
ISIS fighters, according to Novikov, are now attempting to set up base in Pakistan. “Relocation of significant Daesh forces from Syria to Iraq to the territory of Waziristan (Pakistan) with further redistribution observed since the fall of 2016. In other words, resolution of military and political tasks in Syria lowers the number of armed radical individuals physically on one hand, but on the other it forces ISIL to not only change their tactics but also the geography of upcoming activities,” Novikov said.
Rebuilding in Pakistan
According to an editorial in the Afghanistan Times, “The notorious Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), known as Daesh terrorist group is on decline in Middle East, and Afghanistan, but its influence in Pakistan has been rising day to day. The secret, and terrorist activities of ISIS has been reported in the Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan provinces, including the FATA, and even the capital, Islamabad.”
The group, according to the editorial, is increasingly leaving its footprints in Pakistan. “On September 24, the Express Tribune and other newspapers reported the Islamic State flags were waving in Islamabad that read ‘Khilafat is coming,'” it reads. “According to reports, the group is constantly recruiting educated, and illiterate people in Pakistan, and sent them to Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.”