ISIS Loses Ground But Spread of Ideology Remains Strong

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Published on 19 Feb 2019, 21:32
THE RUNDOWN | The battle on the ground to defeat the Islamic State may be over, but what still remains strong is the group's ideological presence in the Middle East and beyond. Our Jonathan Regev has the story.


Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces fire towards Banghouz, the last remaining enclave of the Islamic State. The American backed militia is reportedly planning to assault the area in the coming days.

‘It should be formally announced sometime probably next week that we will have 100 percent of the caliphate but I want to wait for the official word. Don't want to say it too early,’ announced President Trump.
Does this mean the war against the once mighty organization is over? Probably not, but it just means it is now changing its pattern of behavior. 
‘The coalition's hard won battlefield gains can only be secured by maintaining a vigilant offensive against the now largely dispersed and disaggregated ISIS that retains leaders, fighters, facilitators, resources and the profane ideology that fuels their effort,’ U.S. military central command general Joseph Votel explained.
The danger now lurks among the Islamic State's foreign fighters. Many of them are from western countries and they may be taking their training and ideology back home with them. President Trump called on his European allies to take back their Islamic State fighters and put them to trial at home or else they will be released. 
‘I think this is one of the major challenges ahead of us Europeans, to keep the Western Balkans route as closed as it is just possible, and to put obstacles on their way in order to avoid them coming back to Europe,’ Hunarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said.
There is, however, a major point of disagreement between Washington and Brussels regarding the American future role in Syria. President Trump is hoping to get the American troops out of the area as soon as possible, but European leaders see this as a grave mistake and so do most pundits.
‘American troops on the ground actually are the only guarantee that we have in eastern Syria to stabilize the area. All the countries who funded or said that they will fund stabilizing eastern Syria, they stopped the money now, because there's no plan anymore,’ Monitor and Evaluation Organization for Syria Managing Director Nidal Bitari explains.

The long-fought war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq may come to its end with the upcoming liberation of Banghouz, but as it seems, the end of one war will also open the door to the next one.

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