Russian security services: Daesh picked N Afghanistan as new centre of caliphate

MOSCOW (Sputnik): The fight against the Daesh terrorist group continues in Syria; on 15 March, the Syrian Army liquidated several Daesh fighters in Idlib Province and destroyed their headquarters, according to the local Ikhbariya broadcaster.

The Daesh terror group has picked Northern Afghanistan as the new centre of its so-called caliphate, first deputy director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), General Sergei Smirnov, told reporters on Friday following a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (SCO RATS) council.

“Given the losses incurred in Syria and Iraq, ISIS [Daesh in Arabic] is forced to look for ways to create new support centers for the ‘caliphate’. Strengthening ISIS in northern Afghanistan may pose a major threat to regional security in the near future,” he said.

The general also stated that Daesh terrorists have significantly strengthened their positions in Northern Afghanistan and incidents on the country’s border have intensified, according to Russia’s FSB.

“Terrorist groups have significantly stepped up sabotage and terrorist activities and strengthened their positions in the northern areas of Afghanistan. Armed incidents on the border have become more frequent,” Gen. Smirnov said.

The remarks come amid reports by Syria’s Ikhbariya broadcaster that the Syrian Army liquidated several Daesh fighters in Idlib Province and destroyed their headquarters.

Prior to that, on 4 March, Al Jazeera reported that some 150 terrorists surrendered to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). At the same time, the SDF is continuing its operation to clear the last pockets of Daesh militants in the area of Baghouz.

In February, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) began its final assault to clear out the village of Baghuz, which, according to them, is the last Daesh stronghold in Syria.