Beirut: The Islamic State group lost 12 per cent of the territory it holds in Iraq and Syria in the first half of 2016, according to an analysis by British think-tank IHS.
The analysis published yesterday says the jihadist group is continuing to lose ground after a string of setbacks last year. “In 2015, the Islamic State’s caliphate shrunk by 12,800 square kilometres to 78,000 square kilometres, a net loss of 14 per cent,” IHS said. “In the first six months of 2016, that territory shrunk again by 12 per cent. As of July 4, 2016, the Islamic State controls roughly 68,300 square kilometres in Iraq and Syria.”
In March the jihadists were routed from the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra and in June from the Iraqi city of Fallujah. Facing territorial losses and pressure, IS on Wednesday issued a video describing the “organisation of the caliphate” in which it claimed control of 35 “wilayat” or provinces, including 19 in Syria and Iraq.