The variety of terrorist assaults elevated worldwide in 2020 partially as a result of unfold of Islamic State (IS) branches and al-Qaeda associates, the US State Department stated in a report launched Thursday.
The Country Reports on Terrorism offered yearly to Congress stated the variety of terrorist assaults and ensuing fatalities elevated by greater than 10% final yr in comparison with 2019.
“The terrorism threat we face has become more geographically diffuse,” John Godfrey, appearing coordinator for counterterrorism and particular envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, advised reporters on a name Thursday.
Godfrey described IS, which the report stated maintains a low-level insurgency in Iraq and Syria, as a “determined and dangerous enemy” regardless of its territorial defeat.
“We’re working to build on our gains by sustaining pressure on [IS] remnants in Iraq and Syria, and to deny its global network and branches the ability to effectively operate,” he stated.
Of explicit concern, Godfrey stated, is the terrorist group’s concentrate on branches outdoors of Iraq and Syria, which precipitated extra fatalities in 2020 than in any earlier yr.
IS-affiliated assaults in West Africa killed nearly 5,000 folks in 2020 in comparison with 2,700 folks in 2017, in accordance with the report. In Mozambique alone, an estimated 1,500 folks died in assaults carried out by the group’s native department. Last week, the US-led coalition introduced the formation of the Africa Focus Group to assist deal with the IS risk throughout the continent.
The Biden administration has urged overseas governments to repatriate, rehabilitate and prosecute their nationals held in northeast Syria, the place the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces maintain 10,000 suspected IS fighters and their households. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has described the humanitarian scenario as “untenable” and a US watchdog report has warned of the potential for jail breaks.
“The situation in northeast Syria with respect to foreign terrorist fighters is absolutely one of the key concerns for US and coalition partners,” Godfrey stated, including that the United States has referred to as on European international locations to take the “responsible approach” and repatriate their nationals.
As of Dec. 2021, the United States has repatriated 30 US residents, of them 13 adults and 17 kids, Godfrey stated. Among the adults, the Department of Justice has charged 10 with terrorism-related crimes.
Syrians and Iraqis make up the majority of the fighters held in SDF-run prisons and displacement camps housing the fighters’ households. The report stated the federal government of Iraq “made no significant efforts” to facilitate the repatriation of Iraqi girls and kids from Syria in 2020.