first published on December 28, 2017 by Will
According to the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, fewer than 1,000 ISIS fighters remain in Iraq and Syria.
The American-led coalition stated, “Due to the commitment of the Coalition and the demonstrated competence of our partners in Iraq and Syria, there are estimated to be less than 1,000 ISIS terrorists in our combined joint area of operations, most of whom are being hunted down in the desert regions in eastern Syria and Western Iraq,” according to Reuters.
While that number doesn’t include areas held by the Syrian government, it should be known that both the Iraqi government and Syrian regime have claimed victory over the hardline insurgent group.
The Islamic State is known for their heinous execution videos in which prisoners were shot, burned, drowned, crushed, and blown apart. In addition to the rampant murder, they are also notorious for enslavement of women who were auctioned of en masse for sexual purposes. They attempted to, and nearly succeeded in wiping out the Kurdish Yazidi ethnic group of Sinjar.
Since 2014, tens of thousands of ISIS fighters have been killed in thousands of Western airstrikes as well as in military ground operations led by US special operations troops, as well as elite troops from other Western nations.
Unfortunately, fewer ISIS fighters doesn’t mean the end of ISIS as a whole. The insurgent group is still operating in other countries across Asia and north Africa. Even if their leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi were to be killed in an airstrike today, the sickened ideology would still live on.
Additionally, a plethora of similar jihadist groups still persist in Syria, and while they may have different leadership, they all have the same end goal in mind… the oppressive theocracy of Sharia Law.
The exclusive nature of Muslim societies set themselves up for perpetual future conflicts. Take Iraq for example. The Sunni insurgency was squashed by the US military in Iraq. When the Western troops left and the fate of the Iraqis was left in the hands of an oppressive Shia government, it opened the door for Sunni insurgent groups in Sunni majority regions and cities. These people are incapable of living in peace. Their deeply engrained culture doesn’t compute topics like free will or equality, and there is little value placed on human life. If you’ve been there, you know.