Monday, August 19, 2019
Five months after American-backed forces ousted the Islamic State from its last shard of territory in Syria, the terrorist group is gathering new strength, conducting guerrilla attacks across Iraq and Syria, retooling its financial networks and even targeting a vast new pool of recruits at an allied-run tent camp, American and Iraqi military and intelligence officers said.
One of the greatest challenges, the official said, was the constant ferrying of American troops to and from Syria in an effort to keep the overall troop presence at the military's official deployment of just under 1,000. Sometimes, the official said, troops are brought into the country for specific missions and then sent out.
"Coupled with a U.S. drawdown, it's setting the conditions for ISIS to retake pockets of territory while coercing local populations," said Colin P. Clarke, a senior fellow at the Soufan Center, a research organization for global security issues and an author of a new study by the RAND Corporation on the Islamic State's financing.
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