Islamic State's days of territorial gains and military wins in Iraq and Syria might be over as the last vestiges of territory are won back from the self- proclaimed caliphate, but international experts are warning that any hopes that the group is gone and forgotten are premature and misguided.
The U.K.'s minister of state for the Middle East and North Africa said Thursday that even as ISIS crumbles, its influence remains strong.
"There's no doubt that the threat to us all continues to grow," Alastair Burt said Thursday, speaking at a counterterrorism conference hosted by U.K.-based defense and security think tank, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
"Even as we see Daesh (ISIS) push back on the physical battlefield, we know that they will continue to pose a threat in the region. We also know that the battle of ideas is far from won, Daesh is still capable of inspiring people to carry out attacks in its name and, as such, it remains a serious global threat," he said.
"We've seen tragic evidence of this on the continent, in the U.S. and here in the U.K., with five deadly terrorist attacks this year alone," he added.
Gilles de Kerchove, the EU's counter-terrorism coordinator, agreed that the violent terror group was likely to be defeated soon but the reasons for its creation, which go back into the early 2000s but evolved to counter Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime in recent years, had not been addressed.
"If we don't address the grievances which led to the creation of Daesh - Sunni grievances against sectarian Shia policies – and state violence from Assad, we're likely to see the resurgence of something that could be Daesh 2.0," De Kerchove told the RUSI conference.