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McGurk: IS requests recruits to head to Libya not Syria

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The terrorist organisation, Islamic State (IS) was highlighted by the President Barack Obama’s special envoy in the fight against Islamic State, Brett McGurk, as a declining organisation on Friday, the envoy said that the Islamic State (IS) had lost approximately 50 percent of its territory in Iraq, as well as their access to Turkey’s borders.

The loss of territory has resulted in a plunge in morale amongst the IS fighters, which can be seen in the increase in desertions, according to McGurk. He said, propaganda statements from the IS had recognised the loss of territory and requested the potential recruits to head to Libya rather than Syria.

When asked about the status of the leader of the IS, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, McGurk said that he had “no reason to believe that he is not still alive” even though he has not had any public appearances since the end of last year.

McGurk said that as the self-declared pioneer of a caliphate, Baghdadi typically would have been expected to address his devotees towards the start of the holy month of Ramadan. He said Baghdadi’s hesitance to show up out in the open demonstrated that the groups confidence was disappearing.

The envoy did not specify unsubstantiated reports by a local source in Iraq claiming that Baghdadi, the IS leader, and other commanders were injured on Thursday, in a coalition airstrike on one of their command headquarters nearby the Syrian border. The reports remain unverified.

McGurk acknowledged that there were still tremendous challenges ahead in the fight against the Islamic State (IS). Obama will be meeting with his top national security advisers at the US Treasury Department, on Tuesday, to discuss efforts to deprive the group of funding.