Baghdad (Iraqinews.com) – A senior Islamic State (IS) leader plans to form a new militant group in western Iraq in retaliation for last year’s defeat at the hands of the Iraqi army, a Jordanian paper reported Monday.
Quoting well-informed sources, the Jordanian Ad-Dustour newspaper said, “Abu Yehia al-Iraqi, a senior IS leader, started to form a new militant group in Anbar’s Wadi Hauran, depending on remaining IS militants who suffered a crushing defeat throughout their strongholds in Iraq last year.”
The sources pointed out that militants of the new terrorist group are “secretly working as shepherds, waiting for the right moment to emerge and recapture cities they lost in their fight against the Iraqi army.”
Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence earlier in November with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.
Islamic State declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by the US-led international coalition, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously proclaimed capital.
The surge in violence between armed groups and government forces has resulted in over 3 million internally displaced persons across Iraq and left more than 11 million in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.