World: Exclusive: Military leaders warn of 'ISIS insurgency' in Iraq, Syria breeding ground - PressFrom - US
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WorldExclusive: Military leaders warn of 'ISIS insurgency' in Iraq, Syria breeding ground

02:10  10 september  2019
02:10  10 september  2019 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL /ˈaɪsəl, ˈaɪsɪl/), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ( ISIS /ˈaɪsɪs/), officially known as the Islamic State (IS)

The leaders of Iraq and Iran both declared the terrorist group ISIS defeated militarily in Iraq and Syria . Iraqis and Syrians , with assistance from the The threat of ISIS remains far from over. Beside the many ISIS cells around the world — as well as ISIS ' continued online presence — fighters from

It is a familiar battlefield, but a different enemy for American troops in Iraq.

Exclusive: Military leaders warn of 'ISIS insurgency' in Iraq, Syria breeding ground© ABC News "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir went deep into Iraq on the Syrian border to speak with U.S. troops who are fighting ISIS, which is desperately working on a resurgence.

Nearly 16 years since the United States went into Iraq to eliminate Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction, "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir got exclusive access with American troops now fighting an enemy intent on resurging: ISIS.

Mere months after losing their territorial hold across Syria and Iraq -- and after President Donald Trump declared ISIS had been "defeated" -- the reality on the ground paints a still grim picture of recalcitrant ISIS fighters forming an enduring insurgency.

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An insurgency began in Iraq after the 2003 US-led invasion, and lasted throughout the ensuing Iraq War (2003–2011). The first phase of the insurgency began shortly after the 2003 invasion and prior to the establishment of the new Iraqi government.

Three years later, ISIS seized vast swaths of northern and western Iraq in a matter of days. Syria is less hospitable for ISIS . The group’s brutality and foreign Turkey views the Kurdish forces in the SDF as an extension of the insurgency it is battling at home, and has vowed to launch a military offensive

"We have seen, since the collapse of the caliphate, that ISIS has repositioned a lot of its capabilities," U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich told Muir.

Watch the full story on "World News Tonight" at 6:30 p.m. ET and then "Nightline" TONIGHT at 12:35 a.m. ET on ABC.

(MORE: State Department orders non-emergency government employees out of Iraq amid tensions with Iran)

"They're trying to garner resources, extort the population, do low level attacks. There's certainly an insurgency going on, on the ground right now," said Grynkewich, the deputy commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, the joint coalition fighting ISIS on the ground.

Muir traveled deep into the Anbar desert, just 50 miles from the Syrian border, with American and Iraqi forces during an operation to take out ISIS fighters.

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In response to rapid territorial gains made by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during the first half of 2014, and its universally-condemned executions

The Iraqi Civil War was a civil war in Iraq which began in January 2014 and ended in December 2017. In 2014, the Iraqi insurgency escalated into a civil war with the conquest of Ramadi, Fallujah, Mosul

Exclusive: Military leaders warn of 'ISIS insurgency' in Iraq, Syria breeding ground© ABC News "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir went deep into Iraq on the Syrian border to speak with U.S. troops who are fighting ISIS, which is desperately working on a resurgence.

Thousands of ISIS fighters, commanders on the ground said, are spread across Iraq and Syria -- sleeper cells hiding in the desert, the caves and blending into populations in town and cities, orchestrating attacks and trying to garner resources.

"In the desert, sometimes, they try to blend in, look like shepherds who are just transiting through the area. In the cities, they try to look like the citizens and the population of Anbar, so that they don't draw attention to themselves, Lt. Col. Ray Stone said.

(MORE: Trump claims '100 percent' of ISIS caliphate defeated in Syria)

For months, there have been warnings of a resurgence -- at least two Pentagon reports this year, including one from August, cautioned ISIS was far from eradicated. A report from the lead inspector general for Operation Inherent Resolve, which fights ISIS, warned that from April to June, ISIS "solidified insurgent capabilities in Iraq" and established "resurgent cells" in Syria to "expand its command and control nodes in Iraq."

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The Iraqi insurgency , later referred to as the Iraq Crisis, escalated in 2011, resulting in violent conflict with the central government, as well as sectarian violence among Iraq 's religious groups.

A partial withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria further decreased the support available for local forces at a time when they still need training and equipping to respond to ISIS, the report said.

The United Nations went further, saying ISIS leaders are "adapting, consolidating and creating conditions for an eventual resurgence" despite a lack of financing. Those leaders continue to look for ways to "reinvest in the capacity to direct and facilitate complex international attacks," a July report to the U.N. Security Council said.

Exclusive: Military leaders warn of 'ISIS insurgency' in Iraq, Syria breeding ground© ABC News "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir went deep into Iraq on the Syrian border to speak with U.S. troops who are fighting ISIS, which is desperately working on a resurgence.

"(ISIS) has shown a determination to resist and the capability to counter-attack," the report said, adding there is currently a net flow of ISIS fighters from Syria aiming to reinforce an emerging network of ISIS cells in Iraq.

Brig. Gen. William Seely, the American commander of Task Force-Iraq in Baghdad, told Muir ISIS had already started planning its way back to Iraq even before its territorial defeat.

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The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ( ISIS ), also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a Sunni offshoot of al-Qaeda. One of the goal's of the terrorist organization is to create a new Islamic state, free of the leadership of the region's Shiite governments.

Syrian Civil War Map: Get all visualized information on recent military gains and losses in Syria and Iraq . News about the war against ISIS and the latest interactive We are dedicated to delivering the latest news as well as the most accurate and unbiased information about the Syrian and Iraqi conflict.

"As they withdrew back into Syria, they looked at their future. And so they started sending out fighters, sending out logistics, sending out groups of people to either get back into maybe (internally displaced people) camps or refugee camps and try to blend back (in)," Seely said. "They're trying to get logistics set up. They're trying to conduct operations. They're trying to refinance their operations."

Coalition forces have escalated the number of bombs and missiles used to combat ISIS -- in operations much like the one ABC News witnessed firsthand, where American military train, guide and support Iraqi forces, who move in after airstrikes on ISIS targets.

(MORE: Pompeo makes surprise visit to Baghdad and Erbil to reassure Iraqi officials on US Syria withdrawal)

With coalition support, Iraqi Security Forces attempt to break up ISIS networks, both physical and virtual, in large villages and cities, according to Seely.

In a recent week this summer, American and Iraqi forces took out tunnels and supply depots ISIS used to hide near Mosul, and north of Baghdad.

But the fight is far from over -- both within Iraq and across the border in Syria.

Earlier this summer, ISIS released a propaganda video showing heavily armed fighters there vowing to revive their caliphate.

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Iraqis in the area fear a return of insurgency and sectarian violence, while some US personnel Sofge said the remnants of ISIS in the area have yet to adopt insurgent tactics that Al Qaeda, the At an military outpost in Fallujah, Iraqi Col. Muhammad Abdulla said the local population, largely Sunni

There are 12 US military bases in Iraq according to our database which is being updated all the time. Still commonly referred to as Camp Fallujah, MEK Compound is a military base located in Fallujah and used for the common conflicts in Iraq .

Exclusive: Military leaders warn of 'ISIS insurgency' in Iraq, Syria breeding ground© ABC News "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir went deep into Iraq on the Syrian border to speak with U.S. troops who are fighting ISIS, which is desperately working on a resurgence.

In Syria, American-backed forces hold custody of around 10,000 ISIS fighters. ABC News visited the Alaya prison in the northeastern town of Qamishli. At least 70 percent of the prison’s population are captured ISIS fighters -- some of whom remain unrepentant and committed to the caliphate.

About 2,000 ISIS prisoners held across Syria come from foreign countries, including the United States.

(MORE: Top US general warns of 'calculated' ISIS retreat from Syria amid ongoing battle for remaining territory)

"We've got to get the countries to take ownership of their folks who came here into the battlefield, take them back, and figure out how to bring them to justice," Grynkewich told Muir.

Eight adults and 13 children have been repatriated to the United States from ISIS. Six of those adults are facing several charges, according to ABC News' analysis of indictments and reports of individuals brought back to the U.S.

Both the United Nations and the Department of Defense Inspector General warn holding camps, prisons and rehabilitation centers that house former ISIS fighters, families and supporters have become breeding grounds for radicalization.

"We don't want that to be a spark ... a new wave of committed ISIS fighters," Seely told Muir of the camps. "That ideology still exists, and everything needs to be focused on getting rid of that extremist ideology."

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BAGHDAD — The Islamic State’s latest suicide attack in Baghdad, which killed nearly 330 people, foreshadows a long and bloody insurgency , according to American diplomats and commanders, as the group reverts to its guerrilla roots because its territory is shrinking in Iraq and Syria .

In the sprawling al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria, extremism is mixed with desperation. The camp houses nearly 70,000 women and children who lived under ISIS rule. Some of them are former fighters and many remain staunch supporters.

(MORE: US urges Turkey to halt announced offensive into Syria that threatens US allies and ISIS jails)

The August report from the Inspector General warned the local forces' inability to provide more than "minimal security" at the camp has allowed the "uncontested conditions to spread of ISIS ideology" there.

Reports of militant ISIS wives and widows burning the tents of those they perceive to be less pious are widespread. Just last month, a video from inside the camp showed an ISIS flag being raised as a crowd celebrated below.

"Children were dancing around the flagpole -- clearly indoctrinated into that ideology there," Grynkewich said. "The physical territory has been taken away from them. But as an ideology, as an organization, they're still very much functioning."

ABC News' Cindy Smith, Conor Finnegan, Sohel Uddin and Alex Mallin contributed to this report.

American inside Syrian prison says he was recruited to ISIS online.
Inside a high-security prison in Syria, CBS News met a 22-year-old man from Minneapolis . Abdelhamid Al-Madioum agreed to tell his story, but we can't know for sure whether he was speaking freely. © CBS News holly-williams-rem32-frame-60925.jpg He said he was recruited to ISIS through a contact on Twitter and was bombarded with ISIS propaganda videos. Not the ones showing gruesome beheadings, but ones explaining that ISIS was helping Muslims. He said he entered ISIS territory in 2015, hoping to become a doctor. "They gave me a blank check to buy whatever I wanted," Al-Madioum said. "Here's the thing.

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