Even though the Islamic State is steadily losing both territory and troop strength in Iraq and Syria, the organization's worldwide terror threats will continue for years, President Barack Obama's special envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL told a Senate Foreign Relations hearing, The Washington Times reports.
Brett McGurk, speaking a few hours before the deadly terrorist attack at Istanbul's airport, which was apparently carried out by the Islamic State, said ISIS officials are telling recruits to carry out attacks in their own countries rather than traveling to the group's strongholds in Syria, which are increasingly under threat by coalition forces.
When some of the senators questioned the administrations' claims of success against ISIS at the same time the terrorist organization was carrying out deadly strikes around the world, McGurk said ISIS had not managed to retake any significant territory captured by coalition forces and that the progress to liberate more areas from the Islamic State was steady.
The Military Times reported
that McGurk also said the coalition has recently been killing an ISIS leader about once every three days, which is helping to destabilize the group.
He also said that the offensive against ISIS was helping to weaken, in the long run, the organization's ability to effectively carry out major terrorist strikes. But already, he insisted, there are signs that the appeal of Islamic State is decreasing as the group faces clear losses on the battlefield. This has also lowered morale among members and recruits.
McGurk insisted that the pace of success in combating ISIS forces meant that the fight against the Islamic State, at least in Iraq and Syria, could be completed within 14 months, The Express Tribune reports.
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