IS territory shrinks by 12% since January

Jul 11, 2016, 7:40 AM EDT
(Source: Global Panorama/flickr)
(Source: Global Panorama/flickr)

According to a defense consultancy, I.H.S., the jihadist group Islamic State lost 12 percent of its territories in Iraq and Syria in the first half of 2016. The “caliphate” proclaimed by IS two years ago, controlled about 90,000 sq. km. in January 2015, which has now reduced to 68,300 sq. km. The report warned that the territorial losses might prompt the militant group to intensify attacks in the Middle East and Europe.

In recent months, IS fighters have faced a series of major offensives on several fronts, writes the BBC. The government forces in Syria, backed by Russia and Iran, have put huge pressure on IS while Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) fighters have also seized several strongholds of the jihadist group.

After recapturing the town of Falluja last month, Iraqi troops and allied forces are planning a major assault to seize the northern city of Mosul from IS. The group’s revenues have also seen a significant drop from about $80m a month in mid-2015 to $56m a month by March 2016, notes Middle East Eye.

Analysts at I.H.S. said IS would “re-prioritize insurgency,” after realizing that its “governance project” is failing. A change in priority may result in more bloodshed and “sabotage of economic infrastructure,” across Iraq and Syria, and further afield, including Europe.