Islamic State facing defeat

This item appears on page 19 of the May 2019 issue.

The self-declared caliphate of the Islamist militant group Daesh (ISIL), which at its peak, in 2015, controlled more than 88,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria, lost its last-held cities, which were in Syria, to US-backed Kurdish soldiers on March 23.

Despite Daesh having lost all of its land, it is believed that up to 18,000 Daesh soldiers are still present in Syria and Iraq, with perhaps thousands more having returned to their countries of origin. The UN Security Council said that Daesh will remain a terrorism threat in the Middle East for many years.