The Islamic State terrorist group is planning to create a safe passage along Iraq-Syria borders to spread insecurity from Syria to three Iraqi provinces, informed security sources said.
“According to the intelligence obtained from a captured ISIL commander, the terrorist group is considering a comprehensive plan to extend the clashes from Syria to Iraq,” the Saudi Okaz newspaper quoted a senior Iraqi security source as saying.
The Iraqi source noted that the ISIL is considering to create unrests in the three Iraqi provinces of Salahuddin (in Northwestern Iraq), Al-Anbar (in Western Iraq) and Nineveh (in Northern Iraq).
The news comes as a number of ISIL terrorists have managed to return to Iraq from Syria under the guise of Iraqi refugees.
According to a UN report, between 20,000 and 30,000 members of the ISIL (also known as ISIS) terrorist group, are still in Iraq and Syria despite its defeat and a halt in the flow of foreigners joining its ranks.
The ISIL’s initial aim was to create a so-called caliphate across Iraq, Syria and beyond.
In early 2014, it took over the Syrian city of Raqqa and declared it its capital. A few months later, the group conquered the Iraqi city of Mosul, where its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in June 2014.
Within a year, ISIL took control of most of eastern Syria and about one-third of Iraq’s territory.
By 2017, the group was militarily defeated and largely driven out of all major cities, including its capital.
By January 2018, ISIL was confined to small pockets of territory in Syria, although the new report said the group “showed greater resilience” in eastern Syria.
In Syria, ISIL is still able to mount attacks. It does not fully control any territory in Iraq, but it remains active through sleeper cells of agents hiding out in the desert and elsewhere, the report added.