EU Counter-Terrorism Chief: Militants from Syria, Iraq now move to Afghanistan, Africa

Following the defeat of the terrorist "physical caliphate" in Syria and Iraq, militants, who have fought in these countries, are now moving to Afghanistan and northern Africa, EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove said on Saturday.

"The end of the physical caliphate [in Iraq and Syria] does not end the problem. Many European fighters are still there. Others have moved to other areas of conflict, including Afghanistan, the Sahel [region], Sinai and northern Africa," he said, speaking to Belgian RTBF broadcaster.

He concluded that Africa may be the next aim of the terrorists.

In April, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said that some members of Islamic State (IS, terrorist group banned in Russia) reached the south of Africa after the defeat in Syria.

Similar statements were voiced by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. He said that Islamic State militants were moving to Central and Southeast Asia after having been defeated in Syria and Iraq.

The armed conflict in Syria has been ongoing since 2011. The victory over the IS in Iraq and Syria was announced in late 2017.


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