IS may step up strikes as its territory, funds shrink: Study
Damascus, July 11 (IANS) The territory controlled by the Islamic State shrunk by 12 per cent in the first six months of 2016, and the terrorist group would redouble its “mass casualty attacks”, according to an analysis released by the research group IHS.
The analysis on Sunday said, “In the first six months of 2016, that territory shrunk again by 12 per cent. As of July 4, 2016, the IS controls roughly 68,300 square km in Iraq and Syria,” Xinhua news agency reported.
“In 2015, the IS’s caliphate shrunk by 12,800 square km to 78,000 square km, a net loss of 14 per cent,” the IHS study said.
IHS senior analyst Columb Strack said the losses were likely to mean the IS would redouble its attempts at “mass casualty attacks”.
“As the IS’s caliphate shrinks and it becomes increasingly clear that its governance project is failing, the group is reprioritising insurgency,” he said.
“As a result, we unfortunately expect an increase in mass casualty attacks and sabotage of economic infrastructure, across Iraq and Syria, and further afield, including Europe,” he added.
The group’s revenue also dropped from $80 million a month in mid-2015 to $56 million a month by March 2016, according to IHS.
“This figure has probably continued to decrease since March by at least another 35 per cent,” said another senior analyst Ludovico Carlino.
“Combined with the military setbacks on the ground, this is having an impact on the internal cohesion of the group as indicated by a marked increase in defections and desertions since January 2016,” he said.
IHS is headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, the US, and employs about 9,000 people in 33 countries.