Anti-ISIS airstrikes could trigger Paris-style attack on Britain – Colonel
Colonel Steve Warren, speaking on behalf of the anti-IS coalition currently inflicting an aerial bombing campaign against the group in Iraq and Syria, told journalists in London the terror group is “beginning to crack.”
As IS is “squeezed” out of territory and funding, they are more likely to try and carry out terrorist attacks in the West in an attempt to assert themselves, he said.
Speaking at the Foreign Office, Warren explained the extremist group is floundering as the flow of foreign fighters realize the “caliphate isn’t all unicorns and rainbows.” He added that IS has cut wages for its fighters and resorted to training child soldiers to bolster its ranks.
“We believe that Daesh (IS) is now beginning to lose. We see them in a defensive crouch.
“We are beginning to see the fraying around the edges of this outfit as they begin to crack underneath this pressure.”
Warren said the group has lost territory in Iraq. He warned IS could be pushed into carrying out a Paris-style attack on British soil. However, he said attacks like Paris, where 130 people were killed, don’t represent a signal of strength.
“We view it exactly the opposite,” he said.
“We view it as a sign that because of the pressure that has been placed on them, because they are beginning to stumble a little bit, they are trying to either distract or prove that they are not finished yet.”
He said IS is being pushed out of its territory and is on the hunt for more profitable ground, such as the Libyan oilfields.
“As we squeeze them and we begin to see them get chipped away at inside Iraq and Syria, we are going to see them look for other avenues.
“We have seen this in Libya, we have seen it in parts of North Africa and Afghanistan, we have seen this through high visibility terror attacks in places like Paris, possibly San Bernardino, Ankara, other places.
“What I do know is that we have assessed that as we continue to squeeze this enemy, as this enemy continues to feel that it's back on its heels, our assessment is that one of the responses to that – it really is in desperation, that they are going to want to show the world that they are still viable - and one of the ways they can do that is through a high visibility attack outside of their so-called caliphate borders.”