European prisons releasing 1,000 returned ISIS fighters in 2020 poses new security challenge

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UN co-ordinator tells The National that counter-terrorism effort is crucial after military defeat.

The threat from ISIS will be greater after the release of 1,000 of its returned fighters from European prisons over the course of 2020, chief analyst at the UN told The National.

Efforts to reform Europeans from the ISIS battlefields through official deradicalisation programmes are largely regarded by officials as having failed to change the beliefs of members.

Edmund Fitton-Brown, a former British ambassador to Yemen who now serves as co-ordinator of the UN’s sanctions monitoring team, told The National that the coronavirus crisis was a hiatus for ISIS but the group could emerge as a more dynamic force.

Before the Covid-19 health crisis ISIS had the “smell of death” from a succession of defeats, but Mr Fitton-Brown warned that in its Iraq and Syria heartlands it could already seen to be “growing new confidence and becoming bolder”.

 

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