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China envoy: Daesh could re-emerge in Syria soon

China's Special Envoy for Syria, Xie Xiaoyan speaks to media after his meeting with Lebanon's Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil (not seen) at Foreign Ministry building in Beirut, Lebanon on June 15, 2017. ( Ratib Al Safadi - Anadolu Agency )

China's envoy has warned that there is a clear danger of a revival and resurgence of Daesh forces within Syria, and has urged for faster progress to be conducted for the political process between the Syrian regime and the opposition.

Speaking to reporters after talks with the United Nations (UN) Special Envoy Gier Pederson in Geneva, Chinese Special Envoy for Syria Xie Xiaoyan stressed that "There is now a danger of terrorist organizations like Islamic State [Daesh] being revived, we see some signs…The fight against terrorism needs to be finished."

Following the group's rapid expansion since 2014 and its capture of vast swathes of the Levant, it began to lose territory in 2016 as a result of an international coalition which saw both local and foreign actors fight against it. It gradually lost control of its major strongholds such as Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. Only sleeper cells now exist in the region.

What's next for Syria?

In December United States' (US) President Donald Trump announced that American troops will be withdrawn from Syria due to the defeat of Daesh and the recapture of the group's strongholds in the region. This was met with widespread disagreement among US political and military figures, as well as the Kurdish groups who rely on Washington's support, insisting that there would be a risk of Daesh re-emerging.

The Pentagon backed these fears in a report earlier this month which warned that the group is recuperating and regathering forces, and that "Despite losing its territorial 'caliphate,' the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) solidified its insurgent capabilities in Iraq and was re-surging in Syria."

Daesh is not dead and buried; it is another tool in the war on terror

The UN also released a report earlier this month revealing that Daesh leaders are seeking to create conditions and consolidate power for an "eventual resurgence in its Iraqi and Syrian heartlands," and that the relative stability that former Daesh-held territories are experiencing following the group's defeat "may not last long, possibly not even until the end of 2019."

The concerns were echoed a week later by the UN's Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who warned that the terrorist group is seeking a revival with $300 million in their possession, generated by informal money transfer businesses known as "hawaladars", as well as earning money through the trading in the stolen antiquities which have been looted from various sites throughout the Levant.

Categories
Asia & AmericasChinaInternational OrganisationsIraqMiddle EastNewsSyriaUNUS
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